Hi, my name is Emory Caudill, I’ve been asked to contribute to Arizona NORML on various topics and will be writing some exclusive stories I’m sure you will find informative and perhaps entertaining.
Years ago my introduction would have been under one of a few pen names I’ve used regarding MMJ advocacy, pre and post Arizona’s prop 203 passage of 2010’s legalization for medical use. It’s now just before the 2016 Presidential Election and a vote on prop 205 is hopefully around the corner, however anti 205 forces are still at it. They state they will appeal the lower court decision to Arizona Supreme Court, in attempts to prevent its affirmation to be on the ballot. If Arizona and California legalize, the combined populations of other legalized States will equal roughly 1/3 of the US population. At such time, I predict the dominos will likely fall with Congress during the next Presidential term, a lot is on the line for us voters.
There is a lot of prohibition money, propaganda and pressure flowing into our State for that very reason. Another strategy for prohibition supporters is to “divide and conquer”, pit the MMJ and recreational movement against itself. Over the last few years there have been other divisions over our successful prop 203 as well. Today, in addition to introducing myself, I’m going to share with you how there is a compassionate side to prop 205 and that it isn’t just for recreational use.
I have a history of advocacy in many areas, one of which is artist’s rights. Years ago in Tempe Mill Ave. the artists were being arrested for selling their art without license and I protested. I challenged the city on Constitutional grounds, as well as other Cities, citing case law. I was told I was wrong by more attorneys and public officials than I could count, today I hold many letters from those same public officials and city attorneys that I have been correct in my advocacy. Other advocates who fought a system of denial inspired me and now I hope to inspire you as well, advocacy isn’t just fighting for others rights; it usually comes after fighting for you own. One person can do amazing things with truth on their side, when I go to Mill Avenue I watch the street artists perform and get a big smile. I use artists rights as an example because all over America our rights have been hijacked because few have fought the incremental changes that public officials have made to rob us. I encourage all of you to advocate in a peaceful manner for change, to join with me in this just cause.
Prop 203 has been a success contrary to how many stated it would turn out and prop 205 can be the same. You may be scratching your head questioning what compassion has to do with prop 205, seeing how it’s about legalization for recreational use like alcohol, right? If you’re a qualifying patient you may be led to believe that prop 203 is all you need and that may be true for some, but after I share a few stories you may recognize your support and passing of 205 is in your, and other qualifying patient’s best interest.
I’m actually in your camp if you’re all about MMJ, I’m going on 50 now and have suffered with chronic pain for a long, long time. I’m legit; I’ve had 2 back surgeries from congenital spinal stenosis that wasn’t diagnosed until my mid 20’s. I have a cage, fixation, pedicle screws, 2 left shoulder surgeries. A motorcycle accident left me with a rod through the middle of my left leg, 2 screws busted of the many more in my ankle and have disks out in my neck that I refuse to have surgery on,, wheeew what a mouth full. If you’re a person who would much rather take as much medical care in your hands and perhaps distrust mainstream Medical care, I’m with ya there too. I’m totally deaf in one ear from a Dr. not wanting to prescribe antibiotics of which was a profound mistake given I’m a former k-8 music teacher and top charting international songwriter.
I had a benign tumor diagnosed on a CT scan on T1 disk, that I believe was from 2 years of epidurals taken some two decades ago. At $800.00 (back then) pr Epidural, what was the cost to the insurance company for two years worth? Use of MMJ’s effects on the reduction of Obama Care is another topic worthy of future discussion. Now we hear on National News, hard evidence is in of reduction of Narcotic prescriptions in states that legalized, a topic worthy of future discussion and debate.
A side note on that; After canna cap therapy, my tumor vanished 3 year ago verified on a CT scan and I let my MD know before the follow-up CT scan of my MMJ use, at that time in my life. His response to the vanished tumor and my pain relief was “you can’t argue with success”. Unfortunately he was powerless to give any recommendations to continue its use or he could lose his license. As a child I had excruciating leg pains at night that went into adulthood, I knew it was not growing pains or malingering as Dr’s conjectured. As a late teen experimenting with cannabis recreationally I eventually put 2 and 2 together that the pain would subside after consuming cannabis, even so, I was forced to abstain. I began to research, ordering books from larger libraries at my small Midwest town library, councilors called me into the school office concerned about my research. Marijuana increased and amplified pain or so the Reagan era propaganda and councilors told me, but I wasn’t able to extract much research from the small town in those pre internet days and MMJ was not on the map, back home anyway. At 14 I went to visit my Mother for the first time since age of 8, it was just over the summer break in San Francisco, but what a stark contrast. Weed was everywhere and no big deal.
I was introduced to cultivation of cannabis a couple years later at the age of 16 back in California again, quite by accident; at the conclusion of summer break I decided to live with my mother, half sister and relative I’ll call Uncle Bob. I came home from School early one day and thought I was having an alien encounter from bright light flooding the hall from a room that I didn’t know existed, back then It was really high tech of the time and wasn’t a commercial grow. That introduction led to a life long interest in horticulture, professional consulting in hydroponics systems and a hydroponics nutrient company of which was leveled to a hobby by disability.
My father’s Midwest household, of which I was primarily raised, was polar opposite as was the opinions of its highly conservative local Town folk. It wasn’t much of a big deal to my mother’s side of the family of which many would label extremely liberal. Though I grew up primarily with my father, my half Sister grew up with my Mother. She is a well-rounded business executive, soccer mom, who doesn’t use cannabis but would advocate for it, and still sees it as no big deal. That contradicts the narrative the anti MMJ crowd would like to present, that kids cant grow up to be professionals, upstanding citizens, intelligent, from homes with parents who uses MMJ.
Primarily growing up in my father’s home in the Midwest, he believed everything Regan had to say about the matter and until I became an adult I didn’t challenge him much from my experiences and research of cannabis and hydroponicum during my visits and subsequent move for a short time to California. I really owe a lot of my knowledge to my Uncle Bob not just in cannabis, but in giving me the tools and time to research the information he was challenging me on. He bought me a transit card, taught me the bus system and showed me the location of the San Francisco Library.
I dislike the word marijuana; I use the word cannabis, although I have nothing against others use of the word marijuana.
I’ve always called it cannabis and it still feels alien to me to use the term marijuana, I guess of how it replaced the ancient linguistically rooted word, for reasons of propaganda. Times have changed, more and more people are learning that they have been lied to, Evidenced by my Father acceptance that MMJ is legit, though he would never use it. He said the reason why he changed his mind was he had an advocate for a son who challenged his thinking with facts, so I guess this is my coming forward to put my God given talent to use on those with an open mind. It seems as though enough time has lapsed with advancements in thought that virtually everyone recognizes the cat is out of the bag. Jefferson stated to the effect that he wasn’t for frequent changes to the Constitution but as man grew in knowledge he shouldn’t be forced to wear the clothes he wore as a child. Quite ironic that so much about this topic proving our case is buried in archives from his time, ahhh, much more on that topic in the future. Young and old alike have been seeking out and finding factual historical and scientific information posted on the net from advocates such as myself. Those facts dispel the long going narratives presented by the dwindling anti-MMJ pro-prohibition folks yielding a great deal of power.
My decision to step forward, to advocate again in the name of a good friend, vet, and artists advocate named Mike Lewis and the private conversations we had regarding legalization. He fell to cancer this year and also found himself abstaining from something he truly believed in. It didn’t just help with his pain of cancer, but that it could possibly kill his cancer as evidence has been showing for a long time. He feared losing his VA benefits so abstained, as I am doing. My abstaining is for a different reason, fear of losing my child. My abstention though I am undoubtedly a qualified patient, as well as many others like Mike, contradicts the narrative that merely having a MMJ card makes you an irresponsible person or inadequate parent. It doesn’t, it just makes those who fear authority, loosing something precious to abstain.
That major hole in prop 203, Arizona Child Protective Services (CPS) some say is a tool wielded to threaten MMJ cardholders. Their identity now after re-branding themselves is DCS, Arizona department of children’s safety, Researching those attacks of MMJ cardholders on search engines you have to also use the old identity, even though the department results remains the same. I have never been the focus of investigation by CPS due to any allegations. Contrary to what MMJ cardholders may assume if allegations are made against one parent or step parents household, even with joint custody, the agency must investigate both parents’ homes. CPS has authority over the family court and thus can bypass prop 203 protections for parents in family court entirely. Even with Federal memos stating that citizens within the guidelines of State Law have nothing to fear, CPS negates the protections of prop 203 by stating they get federal funding so do not acknowledge State law.
The fact of my medical conditions and lack of abuse, I could be prescribed the strongest opiate painkillers tomorrow if need be, but I choose to abstain. The point being people can abuse and become addicted to almost anything, shopping, sex, gambling, power, food, now that’s my vice. Ten years ago I literally had family court order an investigation (not CPS) of me being a fit parent due allegations my disability and taking pain medication prevented me from having joint custody. Family court investigation conclusion was that I did not abuse narcotic medication and that I was a fit parent. Even though the claim should have laid to rest and future attack, I have not had a pain pill in many years, the choice was not only to assure my protection as a parent, but because I despise them for long-term use as well.
Years before the prop 203 was a law, other attempts in family court were that I recreationally used cannabis, again not stemming from a CPS investigation but allegations in open court, court concluded I was a fit parent. Ironically today with MMJ being legal in our state, CPS will not place children in the homes of cardholders even though the agency would overlook recreational use of hard drugs, such as heroine and meth. In all truth, they can’t place children from homes of recreational use even though they want to, because the system is so flawed. In all likelihood those children would and do suffer abuses under the care of CPS. If prop 205 is passed responsible MMJ card holders could just use “recreationally”, DCS would be forced to find legitimate reasons to remove a child, such as abuse, child molestation, neglect, etc. Much more on this topic very soon with a couple stories that are truly troubling.
Over the years I’ve only advocated for MMJ, not full on legalization of which now I’ve changed stance by seeing the holes in prop 203, of which would be repaired by prop 205. Another hole in addition to the CPS, DCS stance, is related to the 25-mile rule, removing a qualifying patient’s authorization to cultivate MMJ. Home-cultivated MMJ can be superior in quality, healthier and cheaper than that cultivated by a dispensary; methods and adaptations for disabilities exist particularly with regards to hydroponics.
Another side overlooked is the therapeutic benefits of cultivation, which is now being researched and advanced in higher education pathway of Therapeutic Horticulture. I’m not talking just the physical therapy side, of which I benefit cultivating my hydroponics fruits and veggies but PTSD and distraction therapy for pain management if home cultivation of cannabis is restored.
PTSD was a significant amount of on air discussion when I Co-hosted and produced the voice of veterans on NBC1260 Phoenix many years ago, this is still a topic in need of much more discussion and insight. We have many topics to discuss down the road and I hope to see and hear you along the way advocating for this just cause… Until then.