Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Twenty five years ago today
Twenty five years ago today, on August 25, 1984, I made a wedding vow to my bride to be as she smiled up at me from her wheelchair. I promised Cheryl that I would protect her and do for her whatever her arms and legs couldn't, till death do us part. I accomplished the second half of my promise, but at times I failed to protect my wife from the pain and spasticity that was symptomatic of her multiple sclerosis. I failed to keep my wedding vow because at times the laws of New Jersey did in fact work well enough to keep me from acquiring the marijuana that could accomplish what Cheryl's legal prescriptions could not.
I set out to change that in 1993 when I pushed Cheryl's wheelchair across the state from Seaside Heights to Trenton with a sign attached that said "Medical Marijuana for Multiple Sclerosis". Last weekend I took Cheryl's wheelchair and that same exact sign out again, this time to attend a rally in support of MS patient John Wilson in Somerville. A lot has changed in those sixteen years, while regretfully some things remain painfully the same. One thing that has changed is the population of MS patients that I originally set out to represent. More than half have died while waiting for their medicine to become legal. One thing that is the same is that medical marijuana is still illegal for sick and dying NJ patients to use as they and their physicians see fit, and they still need your help.
My point is that medical marijuana in New Jersey is not a new issue. The real tragedy of the policy of denying patients access to medical marijuana is the length of time that it has been going on. David G. Evans spoke in opposition to New Jersey's Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana bill at a Senate Health Committee hearing earlier this year. He ended his passionate plea to the committee members (to vote against the bill) by saying "Don't rush to judgement on this issue". Rush to judgement? Approximately 40,000 cancer patients have died in New Jersey while our medical marijuana bill has sat idle in committee. We sure didn't rush quick enough for them and we didn't rush quick enough for Cheryl. So now it's time. NOW! For the vast majority of medical marijuana supporters who are still sitting on the sidelines, there will never be a better time to be as effective as you can be right now.
Cheryl and I could really have used some help during the lonely medical marijuana reform days of the 90's. Now, years later, Cheryl is gone and it is Ray Wilson who is trying to protect his son John and he needs your help. If not you, who? If not now, when? All you have to do is to get in touch with us here at CMMNJ. We can help you know when to send off a well timed email or how to simply call a particular legislator at just the right time. For those of you who are really starting to get the importance of all of this, I'd sure like to meet you at the next gathering at the Somerset County Courthouse in support of John Wilson. You can reach me at email@example.com to find out when that will be. I look forward to hearing from you.