In 1996, a young mother of two was sent into unconsciousness by a blinding bolt of pain in her head. Upon awakening in the hospital, she was faced with terrifying news — a tumor was growing in her brain.
Within a month, Christine Stenquist underwent a dangerous surgical procedure to remove the tumor. But after the nine-hour operation, more than half of the tumor still remained. She awoke from a coma several days later with a laundry list of new complications, including difficulties with her speech and balance.
Christine continued to experience serious complications over the next weeks and months, including fibromyalgia, complex migraine headaches, and severe nerve pain in her head and neck. Her pain was severe and constant, and she spent a decade and a half bedridden and housebound in unrelenting agony, missing out on large portions of her and her children’s lives.
By age 40, Christine’s pain was so severe that it rendered her an invalid. Confined to her bed, her chronic nausea destroyed her appetite and sent her weight and health plummeting. Conventional pain medicine brought little relief, and legal synthetic cannabis yielded only side effects after a few weeks.
With the wholehearted support of her father, himself a retired narcotics officer, Christine obtained her first real cannabis, which was illegal in her home state of Utah. Her nausea subsided within moments, and in only a few months Christine went from wasting away in her bed to walking the halls of the state legislature.
Christine’s story is incredible, but in many ways her experience is not unique. Laws in more than a dozen states prohibit cannabis for medicinal use, while the requirements in the states that do permit it can be so restrictive as to place medical marijuana out of reach for those who desperately need it. Cannabis continues to be a Schedule I drug under Federal law, which could still earn one charged with possessing it decades in prison and up to hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines.
The fight against marijuana prohibition is far from over. Just this month an attempt to amend Idaho’s constitution to make it all but impossible to legalize cannabis was narrowly defeated in the legislature — only five votes kept the legalization of marijuana for any reason out of reach forever. Despite consistently overwhelming public support, Republicans run from the issue of reforming marijuana laws, while Democrats offer it only lip service as they continue to nominate and support politicians who have made a career of drafting anti-marijuana laws and zealously enforcing them.
We have always been on the right side of this issue! The Libertarian Party has been against marijuana prohibition from our beginning in 1971. While the duopoly is at the beck and call of pharmaceutical companies seeking to protect the hundreds of millions of dollars per year they rake in from dangerous and ineffective opioids, the Libertarian Party is working to roll back the laws that make people like Christine choose between criminality and ceaseless suffering. Stand with us today as we fight back against marijuana prohibition across the country.