Letter to a politician sent in September. Identifying info has been removed:
I appreciate you taking time to talk to us!
You said something in our meeting that was factually inaccurate about Cannabis and Heroin use. Your comment was “Every marijuana user may not use Heroin, but every Heroin user has used marijuana.” I can provide you with research that shows your comment is false. For the sake of argument, however, one could also say “every water drinker may not drink alcohol, but every alcoholic started with water.” In either case you are confusing causation with correlation. It is intellectually dishonest.
I know you think you are doing what’s best for your constituents by continuing the prohibition of Cannabis. I remember when I thought I knew what was best for everyone else. I was a fool. "Only the foolish learn from experience, the wise learn from the experience of others.” — Romanian Proverb
Don’t be a fool, Senator. Anyone that wants to use Cannabis can easily find it. It’s everywhere. All prohibition does is protect the black market and hurt people who play by the rules.
Tobacco is responsible for 480,000 deaths a year. (Sources listed below.)
Alcohol kills 88,000 a year.
Those numbers are about as bad as medical mistakes and healthcare acquired infections, but no one talks about those categories!
440,000 deaths from Medical Mistakes!
100,000 deaths from Healthcare acquired infections!
Please don’t tell me Cannabis prohibition continues for public safety.
When you get a chance, please review the history of how Cannabis was made illegal in the first place:
The history should disturb you. I miss my ignorance about Cannabis and the moral superiority I once arrogantly held. It is easy to demonize something we don’t understand. We’ve been told our whole lives that Cannabis is a dangerous drug. Turns out it’s not true. The government lied to us about the dangers of Cannabis. Prohibition continues those lies.
I would not be advocating for Cannabis if I had not been forced to choose between illegal treatment and death. No one living in Tennessee should be placed in such a spot. Last year was so difficult that I did not expect to see 2019. Now that I’ve found a treatment that works well for me I wish I could go back to just running my business and living my life. That’s not good enough anymore. People are dying because of untreated pain - primarily due to bad decisions politicians made thinking they were protecting people.
“The evil that is in the world almost always comes of ignorance, and good intentions may do as much harm as malevolence if they lack understanding.” ― Albert Camus
“We shall act with good intentions, but at times we will be wrong. When we are, let us admit it and try to right the situation.” ― Joe Paterno
I can do nothing else but fight for Tennesseans’ right for medical freedom. Expect to see me frequently regarding this issue.
Don’t take good health for granted! We aren’t guaranteed tomorrow. Everyday is a bonus day!
Thanks again for your time!
Advocate for Patients
PS: I’ve been told you are “out of touch” and I "shouldn’t waste my time" on you.
I don’t believe it. I don’t believe talking to you is a waste of my time! I don’t believe someone can reach the position you’ve reached and be “out of touch” with what’s actually happening to people. I think you are doing the same thing I would if I were in your position. You are elected to do what you think is best for your constituents.
You are, of course, wrong on Cannabis. You were wrong on pain management, too. The unintended consequences of votes you cast as a state rep and senator have injured thousands of Tennesseans. The vote to repeal Tennessee’s Intractable Pain Care Act back in March 2015 was particularly bad because you didn’t make allowances for patients like me who have no other options. To put this in military terms, you made decisions that stranded Tennesseans on the battlefield - you left people behind. What did you think was going to happen to patients who live with severe permanent pain and lose access to treatment?
The bottom line is this - you didn’t think about the collateral damage your votes would cause and patients like me were forced to choose between suicide and illegal treatment.
Before you think I’m picking on you, I am aware it was a unanimous vote. All of you made a bad decision that day. My family and I continue to deal with the repercussions of that vote. You can fix this. You can make changes that allow for treatment options for fellow Tennesseans! I hope you fix it before one of your family members is forced to live with permanent pain. Unless you have experienced unending severe pain, you cannot imagine it. Any comparison you come up with has an end.
You said “Most of my core beliefs are rooted in letting families make the best decisions for themselves. Whether it’s choosing a school to attend or selecting a place of worship, personal decisions should be made by families, not the government.” I agree with you! Personal decisions SHOULD be made by families, not the government. There is nothing more personal than living with severe chronic pain. If you are serious about your core beliefs, being “rooted in letting families make the best decisions for themselves,” then let me have a say in my own medical treatment. What’s more “personal” than that?
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