My name is Jacqueline Patterson and I am a human rights advocate who uses cannabis (marijuana) therapeutically to mitigate (among other things) my very severe stutter. Born with cerebral palsy, I have always had very limited use of my right side, tension, painful muscle spasms, and speech spasms. I was in my teens when I found that cannabis made me feel better and stutter less but didn’t think of myself as a patient until I was in my twenties and a parent.
I could not, in good conscious, teach my children that it was acceptable to break a law that one wasn’t willing to work to fix so I began visiting my legislators in Missouri, where I lived at the time, and expanded my advocacy to include Kansas, Iowa, and Nebraska. My work in Iowa led to my involvement in the Showtime documentary “In Pot We Trust” (which you can youtube to see the effect that cannabis has on my stutter) and my participation in the movie enabled me to become a more effective advocate: I’m excited to say that this year, I am turning my attention to the Southern states beginning with Tennessee.
At the beginning of January, I will be traveling to Memphis to meet with would-be patients and organizing a small group to lobby legislators to introduce a medical cannabis bill or reintroduce last year’s bill. It is crucial, in the instance of something as controversial as medical cannabis, to make face to face contact with politicians, to show them that patient protection is vital to the virtues of compassion and justice. The federal government, unbeknownst to many people, gives monthly marijuana to four patients as part of an “investigational new drug program” instigated in the 70’s and closed by the first Bush administration in the 90’s tragically in response to thousands of applications from ill and dying AIDS patients seeking relief from nausea and wasting syndromes. Cannabis saves lives, kills cancerous cells, and improves the quality of existence for millions of people in our great nation and if there is one belief I hold to be true, it is that the rights of of American belong to every American. It is in this spirit that I speak out for those who cannot or who are too afraid to speak for themselves.
In the past, I have always paid my own advocacy expenses, however, the high cost of living in California (where medical cannabis is legal) limits my ability to do this. I hope that I have supporters who believe enough in the rights of an individual to utilize a safe effective herb to alleviate his/her pain and heal his/her body to contribute to my work.