It has been a meandering and diverse adventure keeping myself alive these past 4 years. It all started with a crash course in ovarian cancer. Then I graduated to "Endocannabinoid Oncology" researcher, a short gig as Movie Producer and now- Lawyer. In this latest role I have been slow to find my footing, I don't understand the law! Which I think says more about the jumbled illogical mess of the Controlled Substances Act than it says about me.
I have acquired many new visitors recently, so let us refresh. I am 18 months away from hanging out in my custom made, locally sourced redwood urn. There are no molecules in the pharmacopeia that can keep me alive. But my incurable cancer shrinks on an "illegal" medicinal compound that is considered so addictive, useless and dangerous it cant even be studied! But the science tells a very different story. The pre clinical data and my simple attempt to document my DIY Cannabinoid oncology shows the ECS is a novel target for some cancer! And of-course, I am not the only one, there are hundreds of other compelling cases. What should be hailed as a discovery full of promise instead has me looking over my shoulder for big black SUV's. How did I get here?
Last year, while planting an avocado tree, a friend I were discussing ideas for Schedule 1 Movie. Ken, who tells a good story and has a Pulitzer to prove it said, "Michelle, you need to define your conflict, who is the antagonist in your story." That comment bounced around my head, unsure of where to land. It took months to believe that Cannabis was indeed shrinking my tumor. My spirit, my consciousness, my soul, my life- slowly and cautiously accepted the joy, gratitude, hope, and peace. I can't describe the lightness this brought. Try to imagine.... you have been fighting cancer for 4 years and 5 years is the end of the line. Just as that calendar pages are running low- a hopeful breakthrough. I was overjoyed at this huge unexpected gift of more time and hope. How could I be angry? Angry at who?
But now, a year later, a cauldron of anger, frustration, rage is bubbling up. Is my life just collateral damage in this game of lie, obfuscate, delay and stonewall that FDA/DEA is playing? Is all this to give big pharma time to patent more Cannabis compounds while the DEA simultaneously prosecutes home grown plants? Maybe someday the FOIA requests will show what has been going on? But all the stonewalling, those onerous research regulations, the decades blocking Cannabis lobbyists fighting for access on behalf of sick patients, those decisions had consequences. For me that consequence is a life and death race to make up for 50 years of blocked medical research. Despite that big hurdle, I have it easy. I am white, financially sound and well connected. I am just one of the thousands of people harmed. Previous activists risked so much more and thousands of people are jailed for simple Cannabis possession every year. The level of injustice entangled in Cannabis prohibition is staggering.
America, how can I stay here? How can I live in a country that makes me a felon? How can I stay in a country that forbids the science I need to stay alive? How can I be free in a country where one grumpy traffic cop could see me arrested and sent to jail? Today, in this situation, I hate you America. I hate you for the injustice highlighted on TV this week. I hate you for the racism, stigma, greed and political spinlessness that keeps Cannabis in Schedule 1. I hate you for dismissing and denying science based policies. I hate your puritanical mindset that lets people snicker and scoff when I pronounce Cannabis is my medicine. I hate your anti intellectualism, that emboldens people who can not so much as define Anandamide argue with me that Cannabis is not medicinal.
How I can go forward, managing this cancer with an "illegal" molecule, without the full force of science, all while being viewed as a felon? The path forward is so unknown, but I refuse to hide, I refuse to be quiet. I refuse to have my life cut short, my health care compromised. I refuse to politely acquiesce my civil liberties. I have no choice but to hire a lawyer to sue for the right to do science and hope it is in time to save my life. We all deserve so much better. I will work to make it better. Who is with me?
There are two legal cases slowly work their way through the courts that I have been watching. Washington v Barr, a case with a handful of medical Cannabis patients. From what I understand the Supreme Court is very unlikely to hear the case.
About three weeks ago I had a lovely chat with Dr. Sue Sisley, a physician at Scottdale Research Institute where she studies, or tries to study, the medicinal effects of Cannabis on PTSD. She is a plaintiff against the DEA, and recently had some legislative success. I will continue to watch these cases, but I do think the details of my situation might be good for challenging the law. Terminal, No medical options, solid pre clinical data, etc... I realize dozens of legal cases over the past 40 years have tried to force changes, but timing is everything. I think the time is finally here. Several attorneys have said suing the DEA is futile, and yes, a judgement in our favor is unlikely. But I see several paths to success.
Its been a wild google goose chase trying to find the right legal representation. How do legal issues get triaged? I have contacted big Cannabis Law firms, International firms with Supreme Court cases, firms that specialize in suing the FDA, small scrappy firms, and those dealing with opioid crisis. I can only imagine my emails read like a crazed and desperate ravings of a mad woman. Hopefully someone will listen. I keep trying, assemble a little team to do our part to change the world!
TTFN from Colorado,
We enjoyed the late spring snow and building a June snowperson.