On Tuesday, January 27, medical marijuana patients, families and supporters headed to the Colorado State Capitol to meet and talk with their legislators face to face.
With more than 150 people stopping by during the day, the little committee room was way too small. So patients poured out into the hall and throughout the Capitol striking up conversations with anyone and everyone who was willing. The photos here only capture a few of the people who came by.
The general rule is that no food or drink is allowed in the committee rooms, but the Sergeants at Arms made an exception for our group, with the requirement that we clean up our mess. Not a big request with a bunch of mommies and a friendly janitor in the room. Thanks to Sexy Pizza and the organizational skills of Jane West and Women Grow, guests were treated to all the party accouterments: sandwiches, pizza, chips, cookies and beverages. It was like a big family reunion in the Capitol!
Visitors posted sticky notes to share thoughts about why cannabis is important to them and their biggest concerns about the medical marijuana laws. “It helps veterans with PTSD.” “Without it I would be dead.”
Kids of all ages were running around chattering, playing video games, munching down chips and noshing on slices of pizza, clearly demonstrating how healthy they are now that they’re using cannabis.
Rep. Steve Lebsock sponsored our event and announced us at the General Assembly, inviting everyone to come down. Legislators and staff stopped by between lunch appointments and committee meetings. Some stayed for a few minutes; others hung around to talk for awhile. We all really appreciated whatever time they could spare.
A few VIPs came by to show their support: Andrew Freedman, Colorado Director of Marijuana Coordination, and Deputy Director Skyler McKinley, Larry Wolk, Executive Director and Chief Medical Officer of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, and Karin McGowan, the CDPHE’s Deputy Executive Director and Director of the Community Relations and Legislative Services Division.
Rep. Tracy Kraft-Tharp posted the following comment on her Facebook page. This says it all!
“I had the most inspirational experience today and I want to share it. Medical marijuana families came to the capital. I met 2 dads who each moved their families to Colorado for MMJ treatment for their boys who suffered from Crohn’s disease. One boy was not able to walk a year ago-this boy looked amazing today. He said that he came to Colorado for one reason but will stay for many! A young man, maybe in his twenties, had a serious motorcycle accident. Besides extreme physical injuries, he had serious brain injuries. This young man, after extensive MMJ treatment, did not exhibit noticeable signs of serious brain injuries in his speech and thought patterns. I met a young man in a laying wheel chair who had over a 1000 seizures prior to MMJ treatment. None now. The courage of these families is unbelievable. I have to tell you-I was so overwhelmed I had tears in my eyes the whole time!”
Our ultimate goal was to give patients and legislators an opportunity to connect and share. As these elected officials are making decisions this session, they should have the faces and stories of patients whose daily lives will be affected by those policies.
Although we don’t always agree, everyone managed to put any differences aside and stand up strong and united for safe, legal, affordable access for medical marijuana patients.
Thank you everyone who participated, everyone who support our efforts. It was an awesome day because of all of you!