Access to safe cannabis is what keeps me alive and writing this blog; I have a huge stake in legislation that:
Regulates my ability to buy cannabis products
Regulates my ability to consume cannabis products
Regulates my ability to grow cannabis products
Regulates my ability to pursue a course of medical treatment with cannabis products
My entire life can and most likely will be profoundly affected in some way, hopefully positively, if any changes take place that alters those abilities. I have something that works; something that keeps me in remission while helping me deal with the long-term physical and cognitive difficulties I'm facing from surviving treatments that effectively halted and mostly healed stage IV lung cancer that spread to my brain.
And right now, things look optimistic: I have access to legal products and can work mostly autonomously within my monthly allotment, and I can access clinical help with that treatment as necessary. But, I'm still insecure - I'm not allowed to grow cannabis. Like any other drug that insurance won't cover, I have to pay for medical cannabis out of pocket.
I also have no safe harbor from laws pertaining to being under the influence even if I'm not under the influence, since there's no effective legal means of determining one's level of cannabis intoxication. At any point anyone can claim that something that happened was the result of cannabis and it's my word against their word. I don't go near guns, steering wheels, moderator tools, or anything else. I co-parent as a verb so I'm certain my kids only get the best I've got to give.
Everything you do daily becomes different in interesting ways when you're not 100% secure in something that you absolutely depend on for survival. Oddly, saying "it's as important as money to me" can be taken very offensively by some people. For some reason, it really only is suffering that hits home the most with the kind of people that tend to turn out for every single local election, and those are the people you have to reach.
And that's why I advocate through my story; through the real ways that my life and lives that depend on me can so easily be up-ended purely on political whims. That's the message that isn't so easily met and dismissed with tired racist bullshit and gateway-drug-flim-flam, the one that speaks from pain. I hate that I have to be injured before I matter on the same footing as Nixon's tired cannabis rhetoric in the conversation, but it is what it is.
Something is different now that wasn't so clear-cut even a decade ago: mental health is real and nuking the stigma around it is everyone's right, as it normalizes the act of saying everything isn't okay with the world being supportive instead of ejecting you like a recalcitrant toy from an assembly line. Doing this helps people who don't ordinarily worry about not having safe access to cannabis relate to needing it, and think more critically about the sound bytes that were planted in their head.
Do I just want it legalized? Of course. Fighting for that, however, means putting more urgent human appeal to a cause that a lot of conservatives see as younger people wanting to get high. I can't scream loud enough for folks to hear me until I can convince them that what I have to say is worth listening to.
That's why the more general faceless push in advocacy isn't doing enough for me; I need people to know why it's important to me, so they know my needs aren't superficial, and they're likely casting a ballot with way less real skin in the game.
That's just how I've found advocacy to be the most effective. I'm not really prescribing anything; I'm just sharing the perspective because it might be helpful to someone considering cannabis. People don't know that taking away or hindering access to cannabis also effectively cuts off sleep for people that depend on it - they don't get to be functional people without sleep. That's way more compelling to put effort into putting on a bumper sticker; I'm just sayin'.
Your host in long-winded wellness,