about me
(in case anyone cares)
at long beach for DPA conference

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m y   d r u g   w a r   s t o r y

m e d i c a l  m a r i j u a n a

p e r s o n a l   u s e

l e t t e r s,   e t c.

c o n t a c t   m e

o u r  f u t u r e

p h o t o s

h o m e

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I started out as a Kansas farm girl, and now I'm a former "flower child" in my sixties, old enough to remember when my father farmed with horses and lucky enough to remember, many years later, wandering into a little hole-in-the-wall place on Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley one summer (of love) evening and catching Jefferson Airplane in an impromptu performance with the house band.

My given name is cheryl, but I'm also called "Honey," "Ma," "Mom," "Grandma," "Sis," "Sweetie," "Alice N. Paine," and probably a few others whispered behind my back. Not really--I'm actually pretty sweet sometimes. . . but not all the time. Alice N. Paine is a pseudonym I used for the "Antique Rockers of America" website Larry and I used to have. Larry's my long-suffering husband. His moniker was "Jed Zeppelin" because he likes classic rock most of the time, while "Alice" prefers heavy metal.

We live in a very small southeastern Kansas town named Potwin. How appropriate is that? Our family moved here from Wichita in late summer '08. We couldn't be happier with the change, but we've had some "heavy traffic" recently--twice in the past month two vehicles arrived at our intersection simultaneously. Only twice since we moved here have we heard sirens--and we soon learned who and/or what was involved both times.

Between us, we have three grown daughters and four grandkids, two of whom live with us, along with their mother; one who lives on a small farm nearby; and our eldest lives in Wichita with her dad but visits us regularly. Wichita is my home, but I traveled the United States extensively when I was younger and had many adventures, both good and bad.

One of that second kind occurred in Wichita in late 1976 when I was arrested and sent to prison for selling seven pounds of marijuana to a couple of undercover cops. Luckily, a family friend went to bat for me and was able to get me released after I'd spent about five months at the state prison for women. It turned out to have been one of the best things that could have happened to me at that time because I was there long enough to learn a trade with which I, a single mother, was able to sustain my little family for most of the next three decades.

For 28 years, I worked in the printing industry in the prepress department, spending most of my workday in dark, windowless rooms--pure torture for someone who enjoys being outdoors as much as I do. As the wheels of progress rolled inexorably along, more and more of my duties became automated. Eventually the entire process could be done electronically, my skills became extinct, and I was laid off.

000 Following a brief period of unemployment I found a job driving a delivery van for a local upscale restaurant. The pay was a fraction of what I had made in printing, but driving around delivering delicious food and beautiful gift baskets was rewarding in its own way. I got to be outdoors a lot, and everywhere I went people were glad to see me.

As enjoyable as that job was, it came to a sudden end one morning when I clocked in, turned to go to my department and fell over a large obstacle someone had left in the dimly-lit area around the time clock, injuring my back. Not only did it hurt, but I had to report to the company doctor--who promptly ordered a drug test. I think he was more interested in that drug test than in my injuries, which were painful at the time and will undoubtedly become more so as time goes on. Well, my urine betrayed me* so I was fired--for only the second time in my life. That was my last job. I've had nearly 50 of them during my lifetime, so I think that's a pretty good record.

Luckily, I finally got old enough to start getting some of my money back from the government--in the form of Social Security benefits--so now I'm officially retired and I can't figure out how I ever found time to work for a living. Now that I'm finally rid of that nuisance, however, I can do what I want to--which includes as much camping and bass fishing as possible--but my primary passion is drug policy reform.

I sincerely believe that drug use/abuse has always actually been a medical issue and not a political one. I'm very happy to have found a way to help try to change that. These days I spend most of my time doing volunteer work for a couple of DPR organizations: Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) and the Kansas Compassionate Care Coalition (KSCCC). Support among policy makers is slowly but perceptively beginning to grow.

Some other things I enjoy include gardening, needlecraft design, writing op/ed pieces and letters to editors and legislators, and teaching myself new computer applications. In my "other" spare time I enjoy jigsaw puzzles, bickering with Larry, and knitting and crocheting for charity. I've even sold some of my original needlework designs to pattern publishers.

Over the years I have come to realize that I am very richly blessed and, despite several past tragedies and hardships, I'm tremendously thankful that I can say I have a pretty good life.


*I flunked the initial drug screen, but my attorney later told me that a more comprehensive test showed no sign of marijuana metabolites. I've often wondered whether the goldenseal root I've taken daily for many years could have had anything to do with that.
"Marijuana smokers themselves must provide the energy and the resources to end marijuana prohibition; no one else is going to do this for us."
000- - - - Author unknown
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