Melissa Etheridge, Medical Cannabis and Me - New Approach Missouri

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Melissa Etheridge: Medical Cannabis and Me

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Because I am a musician, people often assume that I must indulge in the fast-paced life that often comes with playing on the road. But they would be wrong. Coming up in the business in the 1980's, I saw plenty of drugs, but it never really appealed to me. I'm not even much of a drinker.

But when I was diagnosed with cancer in 2004, I found that there was one substance that helped me through: Cannabis.

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My doctors gave me what they called "dose dense" chemotherapy, which is stronger than usual. They could prescribe that level of chemo for me because I was able to take time off work to fight my cancer full time. Unfortunately, the dose dense chemo made the side effects even worse.

My friends told me that medical cannabis could help me handle chemotherapy, so I gave it a try. It worked even better than they said it would. Not only did it treat my nausea better than anything else I tried, it alleviated both my physical and emotional pain. I continue to use cannabis to treat the lasting gastrointestinal effects of the chemo and to help me get a good night's sleep.

I grew up in Leavenworth, Kansas, just across the Missouri River from the northern Kansas City suburbs in Platte County. It saddens me when I think about the tens of thousands of patients in Kansas and Missouri who do not enjoy the same safe, legal access to medical cannabis that I did.

That's why I support groups like New Approach Missouri and Bleeding Kansas, who are dedicated to establishing safe access for patients in their states. In Missouri, you can place a strong medical cannabis initiative on the ballot next fall and ensure medical cannabis as a constitutional right in the state. Kansas does not allow for the initiative process, so I urge all of you in Missouri to take advantage of that opportunity by volunteering to gather petition signatures and contributing to keep the campaign moving forward.

The initiative process is a wonderful thing. It gives the people a direct voice in creating the laws they live under. But passing an initiative also requires a tremendous amount of money and hard work. Missouri can and will legalize medical cannabis in 2018, but only if we all do what we can to put it before voters and educate them about how cannabis can improve the lives of people they know and care about.

As Americans, we have the good fortune to live under a system where we can correct the injustices in our society, but that also means that we have the responsibility to do so. If we don't, no one else will. Every day, Missouri patients suffer the injustice of being denied legal access to medical cannabis, but we can right that wrong. Volunteer and contribute now!

Sincerely,
Melissa Etheridge