Please Georgia elected officials, we need this to be about us and our doctors.

It all started when I was 16. I was a perfectly healthy kid. I was very active. Played sports on the weekend’s with my friends, worked at my job as much as I could, and even marched in the band in high school. Towards the end of my junior year, I noticed something was not right in my lower back and I could not understand what it was. I would have these sharp pains in my lower back that would run down both my legs at times. It hurt to walk, bend over, lift anything, or do anything that a normal teenager should be able to do. In March 2013, it took full form. The pain kept getting worse and worse. I started seeing a chiropractor who gave me what he thought was my first diagnosis, Sciatica. Sciatica is where your sciatic nerve is being pinched in your back and the pain runs down your legs as a result. He then referred me to an orthopedic surgeon who gave me 2 sets of Spinal Injections (4 shots done at one time). Neither of them did anything. She diagnosed me with Degenerative Disc Disease in my lower spine along with Sciatica and nerve shortening conditions. She referred me to a surgeon to discuss the possibility of lower back surgery but since my parents were against the thought of me having back surgery, I never got the chance to speak with the surgeon. I felt completely helpless. My injury completely sidelined me from doing anything my senior year. I missed my very last season marching in the band at my high school. What should have been a great year for me ended in hopelessness and depression. I had completely given up and had come to terms with the fact that I thought I would end up in a wheelchair by the age of 30. I was a mess until June 2014 when one of my best friends brought up the idea of Marijuana use to help with my condition. By then my condition had grown to me being diagnosed with having arthritis in my fecet joints in my lower back (your fecet joints control your spinal movement I believe). Being desperate for an answer at the time and feeling like I had no where else to turn, I gave it a shot and noticed positive changes immediately. All it took was just one hit and I was able to function like a normal kid. After a few weeks of use, my back seemed like it was finally starting to heal itself! I felt like I finally got my old self back and felt like I could do anything and everything. All was great until my parents found out. For the most part, they were cool about it. My dad told me “Son, I completely understand why you’re doing this. But as long as you are living in my house, I can’t have you using Marijuana. Only reason is because it is illegal and could put all of us at serious risk.”. After that day, I had to stop using what was helping me recover. Just a few days later, I was in the ER due to the pain coming back. Since that day I have been to a different doctor who has given me a total of 16 spinal injections (2 sets of 8 shots at one time) and I recently had the nerve endings in my facet joints burned so I can have 6 months-2 years of relief from the pain. Odds are I will have to have that procedure done every two years for the rest of my life. I sit here telling you my story because the laws towards Marijuana for medical use in this state are completely unfair to people like me who need it for its medical value. What I have gone through is something no one should have to go through. I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy. My last year of high school was completely destroyed and I also had to drop out of my first semester of college due to this very reason. Yes, I will be starting college again in January but now I am behind my friends and peers in school. I hope and pray to God that our leaders will open their eyes and give people like me and everyone else the relief they deserve. I thank you for taking the time to read my story. God Bless.

About Author

Sharon is a wife, mother, caregiver, business owner and life long resident of Georgia. Her eyes were opened when her family was traumatized by the “War on Drugs”, she uses her ears to listen to other victims and her voice to tell their stories and educate others on the direct and indirect harms of prohibition and how it affects us all.

Sharon has been a guest on numerous radio stations across the country as well as local and regional TV news affiliates. As well as LadyBud Magazine, HighTimes Magazine and Main Street. She was recently nominated by Mass/Cann NORML for National Female Activist of the Year. Sharon has traveled the country speaking on various topics including drug policy, activism, southern strategies and harm reduction. She produces a segment on highlighting the stories and work of other women in the fight to end marijuana prohibition.