Countless individuals have publicly attested to medical marijuana’s singular effectiveness in alleviating pain, nausea and other suffering. But to those who doubt the credibility of those sources, along comes a tough-on-crime prosecutor. Former U.S. Attorney Mel McDonald, who was a self-professed drug warrior when he was appointed by President Ronald Reagan, is now coming out as an avid supporter of medical marijuana. In a YouTube video, he explains his son’s medical transformation after trying the substance:
On August 8, 1997, my stepson Bennett Black was involved in an accident in Gilbert, Arizona. He was crossing the street on a go-pad and was hit by a vehicle going 45 miles an hour. Since 1998, he has had dozens upon dozens of seizures involving epilepsy. There is constant 24-hour nausea. My son had gone from 180 pounds to 119, was literally starving to death. A dear friend had given him some marijuana, illegal at the time, to use thinking that that marijuana would help his condition.
With all of the medicines that we’ve used since 1997, not one has ever been able to solve the problem of the deep and acute nausea other than marijuana. Do not criminalize people that are desperately needing medicine to help them eat and remain alive. Don’t criminalize it and force people like my wife to go underground and to commit crimes to spare the life of her son.
McDonald’s state of Arizona now has a medical marijuana law and dispensaries are just starting to emerge, although medical marijuana remains federally illegal. But the video is being circulated after a Republican lawmaker sponsored a ballot initiative to repeal the state’s law. The law is also embroiled in litigation over whether it is preempted by federal law, after Maricopa County appealed a ruling that the law is constitutional.
McDonald, also a former judge and law professor, has become a vocal advocate over the past few weeks, aiming to dispel stereotypes about the types of people who support medical marijuana. In an interview with the Huffington Post, he explains:
Marijuana is the one plant out there that solves enormous problems for people with not only a seizure disorder like my son, but also with cancer and other illness. What I’ve tried to do is to become a vocal proponent that this is not contrived. You don’t have to be riding a skateboard with long hair and be a hippy to realize that there are genuine people that need this. And people that take efforts to block it … [are] just wrong.