Norml Tennessean’s Prohibition Horror Stories: “Emily”

The lack of a real medical cannabis program in Tennessee seriously harms Tennesseans, and it needs to stop.

Tennessee NORML is sharing personal stories of Tennesseans whom have been or currently are being harmed by the lack of a compassionate medical cannabis program here. If you are interested in sharing your story, even anonymously, message the page.

Meet “Emily” (name has been changed for privacy) a Tennessee resident who is currently actively being harmed by the lack of a medical cannabis program here. She tells us:

“I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia at age 16, and the doctors put me on 300mg of Tramadol a day. Within a year and a half, they bumped me up to Norco 750 mg 3 times a day. I was full fledge addicted to them within months.

Up till that point, I had never experimented with any drugs, I had never even smoked a cigarette……yet there I was, an addict via medical community.

I knew I needed to get off the pills………I come from a family of addicts, so I knew what would happen if I didn’t. My grandmother passed away when I was 13, she died from mass organ failure caused by pain pill abuse. I knew I would be headed down a harsh path if I didn’t get away from my addiction.

One night after a bad incident and during full blown opioid withdrawals, I gave in and tried cannabis. I had drank too much, and someone offered me some weed. I had been raised to believe it was just as bad as heroin or cocaine, but I was desperate to alleviate my withdrawal symptoms. If it would have been heroin, I would have done it because I was desperate…….but to this day, I thank God it was weed.

I took 4 hits, and I got high. However, I still remember sitting there for an hour contemplating on how I could have been so naive to have believed that cannabis wasn’t really medicine. My withdrawals had subsided, my mind was clear and focused, even under the influence of some vodka. I was at peace for the first time in a year and a half.

I didn’t smoke again until a few months later when I had too much fibromyalgia pain to bear, and it was interrupting my daily life. I then began smoking regularly, and found I was able to maintain a job for the first time. I could stand for hours without debilitating pain. I was happier, healthier, and on the right path.

I was living in Michigan at the time, so I applied for my medical marijuana card. I was doctor approved and waiting for the states approval letter, rule book and card when horrible bad luck struck.

I was heading back from picking up my medical marijuana when I got pulled over, because my boyfriend at the time had forgotten his seatbelt.

It took a long time for him to come back to my car. Once he did, he asked me if I had marijuana in the car……of course it smelled pretty strong so I didn’t deny it. I began explaining how I was approved for medical marijuana and was just waiting on my card. I did have my approval letter and I showed it to him. After all, having it was significant enough I was allowed to buy the marijuana with it.

He asked me to step out of the car, so I did. He explained that because my marijuana was not in a lock box, it was being illegally transported. He put the cuffs on me as I explained that I hadn’t even gotten a rule book or explanation of that yet.

He tore my approval letter in my face. I was under arrest for possession on marijuana, driving under the influence of marijuana, and illegal drug paraphenalia, which was later reduced to usage of marijuana, a year on probation, no medical marijuana access, no opioids, counseling twice a week, and pee tests 4 times a month.

All for getting my medicine.

The same medicine that helped me push through my addiction, the one that helped me focus on school and work, and eased my fibromyalgia pain enough that I could work.

Cannabis is not an illicit “drug”………it is medicine.  And prohibitionists who are making millions off of sick, dying, and hurt people should imagine how it would feel if it were their child or loved one going through this hell over a medicinal plant less addictive than coffee.

I am now in constant pain and misery, because the state of Tennessee where I live now doesn’t allow the use of natural cannabis medicine to help patients at all. It seems like Tennessee legislators seem to prefer seeing Tennesseans addicted to opioids and dying by the thousands by overdose. I simply don’t understand why they don’t make non addictive, non toxic cannabis medicine legal here, so we’d have a safe medicine that actually helped lessen the opioid epidemic in the states that already have a medical cannabis program.”

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