darlene 5In an effort to expand the voices of the cannabis community, Arizona NORML is honored to share this story from a young cannabis patient and mother and how her life has been affected by cannabis. We also urgently implore you to read to the bottom of the page and learn how the state of Arizona is currently threatening to destroy the lives of people like Darlene Padilla:

Darlene Padilla 2

Spina Bifida is a birth defect that develops during the first month of pregnancy when the neural tube that will form the brain and spinal cord does not close properly. Surgery to close the spine is generally done within 24 hours after birth, in my case my Spina bifida was detected one year after my birth, & the surgery was done. Spina bifida is a lifelong disability.

spina bifida

Conditions commonly associated with Spina Bifida include hydrocephalus (water on the brain) I am fortunate not to be diagnosed with hydrocephalus, bowel & bladder complications, some of us have serious allergies to natural rubber (latex), learning disability, and partial or full paralysis. Because of the damage to the spinal cord, some of us born with Spina bifida have had multiple surgeries and continued medical care throughout our lives.
Living with chronic pain from the moment of my birth, life has been pretty hard. Learning as my life developed, that Doctors prescribed me as a young child muscle relaxers & narcotics as a pain relief, which are poison with deadly side effects that was not the best nor healthy option. At the time my mother did not know any better either, thinking Doctors know best, & some do, if the Doctors is pro-cannabis. But if they are not, then you or your child will be given poison (narcotics) just like I was given. If you read Spina bifida has bowel & bladder complications, yet narcotics make me constipated that adds on more pain.  In 2008, Gastroparesis (slow metabolism, causes pain in the stomach feeling every sensation of the food processing in the stomach & intestines) appeared in my life, and it took me by surprise on a down-hill.

I went from 210lbs to 110lbs in less than 9 months, not being able to drink nor eat anything, & constantly vomiting, to a point that I was vomiting blood. My health dramatically changed with chronic abdominal pain, which positioning my body on a fetal position on top of a pillow helps support me. I have been referred to three different Gastrologists that have passed me on to the next Doctor, to the next Doctor, giving up on me. The silver lining in the middle of the storm, 2011 I received the news I was pregnant, which was a miracle! Back when I was 16 years of age doctors told me I would never be able to be a mother, the doctors said my pelvis was not strong enough to sustain a fetus, that my body would abort the baby.

Unknowingly the Gastroparesis that has caused me so much pain to this day, made me lose so much weight that I was able to get pregnant. Now the conundrum: how to treat my pain without any narcotics? So my PCP, OBGYN, high risk pregnancy doctor, & fetal medical doctor got together and came to the conclusion that the best option for my fetus & myself was to intake medical cannabis, & by taking medical marijuana and not narcotics, my appetite increased, I was able to keep food down & gain back some weight, felt like I was given a new breath of life.

Due to the organic & healing components of medical marijuana, my children were in NO RISK AT ALL!!

I gave natural birth to a beautiful baby girl Maryjane & one year later I gave birth to my handsome son Enoch. Both of my children were born strong and healthy. I thank God for putting this wonderful plant on this earth, because without it my children would of been born with physical & or mental disorders due to all the narcotics I used to be given, or not born at all. But thanks to the quick thinking and open mindedness of the doctors who first suggested Medical Marijuana, it gave me my life back. Now thanks to marijuana I can enjoy life with my family.

darlene padilla 3

–Darlene Padilla is a proud mother of two beautiful children in the PHX metro area

It is almost too much irony to add that today (2/24/16), the day I sit down to post Darlene’s piece, after weeks of fighting a “striker” version of Kelly Townsend’sHB2061, the pregnancy exclusion bill has passed through the Arizona House of Representatives. It is on its way to the Senate, where if it isn’t checked, it will pass again and go to a prohibitionist Governor eager to crush cannabis consumers.

THX in part to your efforts to fight back much of the original language of HB2061 was struck before this compromise version was passed. The original bill called for making pregnancy a disqualifying condition, meaning that if an mmj patient became pregnancy she would have her card revoked. If a pregnant woman applied for a card, she would be rejected. Due to the endocannabinoid cycle within human beings a pregnant woman is at her greatest need of cannabinoids. According to DHS stats there are 10,000 medical card female patients of child bearing age. Who knows how many cases like Darlene’s are out there?

The “new” compromise version of HB2061 no longer explicitly bans pregnant women from getting access to cannabis. It tries to shame them out of it and threatens to steal their babies from them at birth. According to the summary page on HB2061 the signage must specifically warn that there is a “risk of being reported to the Department of Child Safety during pregnancy or at the birth of the child by mandated reporters.” The warning will also appear on a woman’s mmj card application and the card itself. To add insult to injury on this, the individual dispensaries will have to purchase the mandated signage and will in due course pass those costs onto their consumers so women like Darlene will actually have to pay for the privilege of being insulted and humiliated every time she goes to the dispensary to take care of her health according to her doctors’ orders.

The only consolation the cannabis community has is that. LD 9‘s, Dr. Randy Friese, a minority member of the House Health Committee that first handled the bill, insisted on adding the word “potential” beside the word “danger” (as in the “potential dangers”) throughout the document to try to point to the inherent reefer madness in the very notion of the bill. But with that slight caveat the bill passed through the whole House unimpeded.

This will still have to go through the AZ Senate and the chances are good it will sail through if Arizonans don’t act and act now. Darlene had a doctor smart enough to see through the reefer madness, but with HB2061 another wave of false propaganda is launched, prohibitionist win again and pregnant women will bear the burden.

I’m mad as hell. How about you? If so, you know the drill:

We at Arizona NORML are calling on you to call or email your state legislators today to express your support for HB2007 & HB2406.

Here is a sample message.

 Hey, my name is ________ and I live in LD ___ [Don’t know what legislature district you live in? Check here] I am calling to speak with my representative/senator about HB2061. I would like to register my opposition to this bill. It goes counter to good public health policy and I encourage Rep. _________________________/Sen. _____________________________ to vote for it. I also request to be scheduled for a meeting with the Sen/Rep to discuss my position on cannabis with him/her.


Your Name


If you should decide to schedule a meeting Arizona NORML would be happy to assist you in preparing for and attending the meeting. Contact 928-234-5633 for further details.

House Roster

Name District Party Email Room Phone (602) Fax (602)
Karen Fann 1 R Send Email 316 926-5874 417-3001
Noel W. Campbell 1 R Send Email 345 926-3124 417-3287
J. Christopher Ackerley 2 R Send Email 127 926-3077 417-3277
Rosanna Gabaldón 2 D Send Email 117 926-3424 417-3129
Sally Ann Gonzales 3 D Send Email 331 926-3278 417-3127
Macario Saldate 3 D Send Email 332 926-4171 417-3162
Lisa A. Otondo 4 D Send Email 123 926-3002 417-3124
Charlene R. Fernandez 4 D Send Email 126 926-3098 417-3281
Sonny Borrelli 5 R Send Email 113 926-5051 417-3153
Regina Cobb 5 R Send Email 335 926-3126 417-3289
Brenda Barton 6 R Send Email 114 926-4129 417-3010
Bob Thorpe 6 R Send Email 130 926-5219 417-3118
Jennifer D. Benally 7 D Send Email 121 926-3079 417-3278
Albert Hale 7 D Send Email 323 926-4323 417-3160
Thomas “T.J.” Shope 8 R Send Email 112 926-3012 417-3123
Franklin M. Pratt 8 R Send Email 226 926-5761 417-3023
Randall Friese 9 D Send Email 325 926-3138 417-3272
Bruce Wheeler
Assistant Minority Leader
10 D Send Email 321 926-3300 417-3028
Stefanie Mach 10 D Send Email 329 926-3398 417-3126
Mark Finchem 11 R Send Email 337 926-3122 417-3286
Vince Leach 11 R Send Email 342 926-3106 417-3284
Edwin W. Farnsworth 12 R Send Email 224 926-5735 417-3122
Warren H. Petersen 12 R Send Email 312 926-4136 417-3222
Steve Montenegro
Majority Leader
13 R Send Email 208 926-5955 417-3168
Darin Mitchell 13 R Send Email 313 926-5894 417-3012
David M. Gowan Sr.
Speaker of the House
14 R Send Email 223 926-3312 417-3130
David W. Stevens 14 R Send Email 205 926-4321 417-3146
John M. Allen 15 R Send Email 131 926-4916 417-3150
Heather Carter 15 R Send Email 303 926-5503 417-3107
Doug Coleman 16 R Send Email 306 926-3160 417-3151
Kelly Townsend 16 R Send Email 302 926-4467 417-3018
Javan D. “J.D.” Mesnard 17 R Send Email 308 926-4481 417-3152
Jeff Weninger 17 R Send Email 338 926-3092 417-3279
Jill Norgaard 18 R Send Email 128 926-3140 417-3265
Bob Robson
Speaker Pro Tempore
18 R Send Email 222 926-5549 417-3157
Mark A. Cardenas 19 D Send Email 122 926-3014 417-3048
Diego Espinoza 19 D Send Email 118 926-3134 417-3273
Anthony Kern 20 R Send Email 341 926-3102 417-3282
Paul Boyer 20 R Send Email 129 926-4173 417-3153
Tony Rivero 21 R Send Email 344 926-3104 417-3283
Rick Gray 21 R Send Email 224 926-5993 417-3225
David Livingston
Majority Whip
22 R Send Email 207 926-4178 417-3154
Phil Lovas 22 R Send Email 110 926-3297 417-3004
Michelle B. Ugenti-Rita 23 R Send Email 111 926-4480 417-3155
Jay Lawrence 23 R Send Email 339 926-3095 417-3280
Ken Clark 24 D Send Email 115 926-3108 417-3285
Lela Alston 24 D Send Email 330 926-5829 417-3115
Justin Olson 25 R Send Email 204 926-5288 417-3161
Russell “Rusty” Bowers 25 R Send Email 309 926-3128 417-3290
Celeste Plumlee 26 D Send Email 119 926-4334 417-3009
Juan Jose Mendez 26 D Send Email 120 926-4124 417-3017
Reginald Bolding Jr. 27 D Send Email 116 926-3132 417-3274
Rebecca Rios
Minority Whip
27 D Send Email 322 926-3073 417-3288
Kate Brophy McGee 28 R Send Email 304 926-4486 417-3170
Eric Meyer
Minority Leader
28 D Send Email 320 926-3037 417-3111
Richard C. Andrade 29 D Send Email 125 926-3130 417-3292
Ceci Velasquez 29 D Send Email 124 926-3144 417-3245
Debbie McCune Davis 30 D Send Email 333 926-4485 417-3014
Jonathan R. Larkin 30 D Send Email 318 926-5058 417-3015


Senate Roster

Name District Party Email Room Phone (602) Fax (602)
Steve Pierce 1 R Send Email 301 926-5584 417-3101
Andrea Dalessandro 2 D Send Email 312 926-5342 417-3169
Olivia Cajero Bedford 3 D Send Email 314 926-5835 417-3262
Lynne Pancrazi 4 D Send Email 308 926-3004 417-3179
Kelli Ward 5 R Resigned on 12/15/2015
Susan Donahue 5 R Send Email 304 926-4138 417-3067
Sylvia Allen 
President Pro Tempore
6 R Send Email 303 926-5409 417-3105
Carlyle Begay 7 R Send Email 315 926-5862 417-3099
Barbara McGuire 8 D Send Email 314 926-5836 417-3131
Steve Farley 
Assistant Minority Leader
9 D Send Email 213 926-3022 417-3128
David Bradley 10 D Send Email 315 926-5262 926-3429
Steve Smith 11 R Send Email 303 926-5685 417-3167
Andy Biggs 
12 R Send Email 205 926-4371 417-3248
Don Shooter 13 R Send Email 200 926-4139 417-3024
Gail Griffin 
Majority Whip
14 R Send Email 212 926-5895 417-3025
Nancy Barto 15 R Send Email 307 926-5766 417-3261
David C. Farnsworth 16 R Send Email 304 926-3020 417-3119
Steve Yarbrough 
Majority Leader
17 R Send Email 212 926-5863 417-3121
Jeff Dial 18 R Send Email 304 926-5550 417-3120
Lupe Contreras 
Minority Whip
19 D Send Email 313 926-5284 417-3106
Kimberly Yee 20 R Send Email 300 926-3024 417-3110
Debbie Lesko 21 R Send Email 302 926-5413 417-3109
Judy Burges 22 R Send Email 302 926-5861 417-3104
John Kavanagh 23 R Send Email 303A 926-5170 417-3108
Katie Hobbs 
Minority Leader
24 D Send Email 213 926-5325 417-3149
Bob Worsley 25 R Send Email 310 926-5760 417-3091
Ed Ableser 26 D Resigned on 9/30/2015
Andrew C. Sherwood 26 D Send Email 305 926-3028 417-3038
Catherine Miranda 27 D Send Email 311 926-4893 417-3116
Adam Driggs 28 R Send Email 309 926-3016 417-3007
Martin Quezada 
Minority Whip
29 D Send Email 313 926-5911 417-3113
Robert Meza 30 D Send Email 311 926-3425 417-3114