On Maine's 2016 ballot, there is Question 1. This brings recreational marijuana to a citizen's vote. To those who have had their heads buried, are deaf to reality or have been in a coma, this is to legalize marijuana for adults over 21.
As a Maine citizen, and currently in federal prison for selling some weed, this vote is extremely important to me. This is written as a statement of gratitude that I can vote to legalize it while incarcerated for it.
How does a person write about this subject and not sound like every other hippie or stoner? Through the years, I've survived cancer, I've been an advocate, protester, grower and criminal. There has not been much I've not seen, heard or done. Yet voting to legalize marijuana is an event that I've looked forward to doing. It's been, at least, 44 months since I last smoked, and I do not plan to until it is either federally legal, or I'm off probation. Coming back to prison is just not worth it. It is not fun in here. The choices I made that brought me here were not worth losing the love of my life, nor the years wasted behind bars and wire. This, however, does not mean that my love of it is in any way diminished.
As a survivor, marijuana helped my life by allowing me to eat, and keep it down. It helped take my mind away from the pain. This was more important than any painkiller.
As an advocate, and protester, I tried to help as many people as possible, and be the voice for those who needed to be heard. Growing it was fun, a lot of hard work to start and maintain each day. Definitely not as easy as throwing a seed in dirt and hoping for a quality harvest. The same satisfaction comes when a person grows their own vegetables, and uses them to eat. It just tastes better than store bought.
From the criminal aspect, I knew what I was doing was legally wrong, and, at that time, did not care. I still believed that the true criminals are our elected lawmakers who accept bribes (lobby dollars) to keep the plant illegal in order to boost the profits of pharmaceutical companies. I still believe that my actions helped people access a substance that is less harmful than legal opioids, and antidepressants.
The best part of my side was the money made off of the risk factor, and the potential for much more. Many dealers and growers do not want to see weed legalized because the future profits would not be as great. Looking out from this side of the wire, I realize (too late) that the money was not worth the agony and the loss to those around me whom I loved. My regrets do not lie in the aspect of coming to prison. I knew the risks when I took them. My biggest regret is hurting the woman who married me, trusted me and expected better of me. By no means can I blame her for leaving me and moving on. That's my biggest loss.
How much longer will it be until our lawmakers stop hiding from the fact that the majority of their voters want this plant legalized? How long will they continue to waste tax dollars on keeping people like me locked up? What will it take to prove that the FDA has approved many drugs that cause addiction, death and psychotic episode? Yet it fights to keep marijuana vilified and illegal.
There is so much more that could be said, but it's been said too many times now. People from all walks of life will be better off with the passage of this law. Let the voters decide the issue.
As for me, I love the fact that I can vote to legalize marijuana while being in prison for selling it.
Joint Base MDL, N.J.