Tonight is the second round of semi-final voting for FDL’s “Name Our Pot Campaign” contest. We had a lot of fun last week coming up with slogans in the comments, and in the fine FDL tradition, there were over 800. The third round of semifinal voting will start tomorrow night, and on Thursday the top 4 vote getters for each night will advance to the final round.
Next week we’ll announce first, second and third place winners — in addition to launching our new campaign page.
It’s tempting to to roll around in stoner humor, but it’s also important to remember that our antiquated marijuana laws continue to have a tragic impact on people’s lives. Relics of the culture wars, they were borne out of fear, hippie-hating and racism. They fill our prisons and exacerbate immigration issues on the boarders, and seriously ill people pay a terrible price for simply wanting access to something they believe helps them:
Thursday, April 22, 2010
John Haring was a 24-year-old truck driver in Ohio when a kid pulled out in front of his 18-wheeler on March 21, 1989. He rolled his rig trying to avoid him.
The cab’s roof collapsed onto Haring’s forehead. He dislocated his C6 vertebrae and fractured C7. Soon he regained the use of his arms and hands — but not his fingers, and not his legs.
“It’s like taking a 24-year-old man and sticking him back in a baby’s body,” he said.
The accident robbed him of mobility, not the ability to feel pain. He was prescribed narcotic painkillers and muscle-relaxers, later antidepressants.
“We didn’t want to be around him when he was on the narcotics,” said his mother, Melissa Morrow, 66. “No one wanted to be around him.”
A therapist showed Haring another — albeit illegal — way to cope. “He told me if I ever wanted to survive I had to get off these pills,” he said. “We left the hospital and burnt that night. Pretty much I’ve been smoking ever since.”
Haring started growing his own marijuana in his Clearwater home.
Smoking pot allowed him to live his life, he said. He could drive his pickup and earn extra money hauling boats and classic cars. He had relationships again. Five years ago, he had children of his own, twins Logan and Sonona.
“I can stand up and fight or give up,” Haring said. “Marijuana wants me to fight. The pills want me to give up.”
But it looks like he may have to give up. Haring has been arrested twice in as many years for cultivating marijuana. He was caught with 41 plants in 2007 and three times that many in 2009.
In 2007, Haring told the police he sold marijuana for extra money, but he was never charged with that offense.
Haring is now facing nine months in jail as a result of his latest arrest. In 2004, quadriplegic Jonathan Magbie died on day four of a 10 day sentence after pleading guilty to possession of marijuana. The DC jail was not equipped to handle inmates with his medical problems and disabilities. Magbie said that marijuana helped him ease his chronic pain.
It’s time to take our drug laws out of the dark ages. We appreciate everyone’s support and participation in helping us come up with a slogan for a campaign we hope will have a significant impact.
You’re allowed to vote once in each seminfinal round.