I’ve always loved adventure – just picking up and going somewhere exciting. Before my son was born, I traveled extensively. Sometimes with family, sometimes with friends, and other times alone. I saw a lot. I want to see more.
But traveling alone feels impossible now; traveling at all is a challenge. One recurring issue I face as a medical marijuana patient is the restrictions on travel. I can not take my medication out of NJ and that sucks. My family hates it even more.
It’s not that we don’t love NJ. We do and we’re grateful for the adventure we can find in NJ. We went on one this week. We hopped in the car found ourselves in Ocean City, NJ. It was perfect. Spontaneity has been missing from our lives.
Life before my injury was different. We’d often slip away for a weekend getaway or a day-trip. But after the injury, pain and medication side-effects made life extremely difficult. Oddly enough, even though they weren’t effective – and even though they are potentially deadly – I was able to carry prescribed pharmaceuticals anywhere in the world. Imagine if Pennsylvania tried to tell me I couldn’t visit because I was prescribed Percocet? It would be discrimination.
Now, I have a natural medication, a plant that no one has ever died from. It eases the muscle spasms and soothes the pain like nothing else. And yes, there are side effects but most of them are actually positive. Yet, this medication holds me hostage in NJ.
- I could call my doctor, refill nasty prescriptions for opiates and valium. I could plan a trip, down the pills, endure the pain and muscle spasms; spend days vomiting from side-effects. Before medical marijuana, that’s exactly what my days were like. The thought of suffering even one more hour like that gives me chills.
- I could carry my medical marijuana to another state and risk a felony. An especially scary option if I’m traveling with my children.
- Or I could just stay in NJ and miss out on life outside. That’s the option I choose, maybe I’m not brave? Maybe I should be practicing civil disobedience? I missed my son’s championship hockey game. They won first place. The smiles in his photos are amazing. I can see the glee and pride beaming. I’m sure in person was better. I’m trying not to complain. Complaining is bad for your health. I’m grateful we have friends and family to get him there and get photos home. I just wish I could have been there too.
But the tournament was in Philadelphia. Philly is close, but the conflicting medical marijuana laws create a chasm that MMJ patients have trouble crossing.
Not that I don’t love NJ; I do. NJ is filled with potential adventures. I’m grateful to be well enough to want to discover them. This was my first trip to Ocean City. In many ways, this brief get-away was more enjoyable than our vacation to Costa Rica last year. Medical marijuana helps me feel human again, alive. I meditated on the beach at sunrise. I ate ice cream on the boardwalk. I played miniature golf. These itty bitty experiences are enormous accomplishments since my injury.
I often wonder, what if my body was different? What if I never endured this injury? Or what if my body responded to medications the way other bodies do. If I was like everyone else, I wouldn’t need medical marijuana. I’d be free to live as other Americans do. I’d be free to travel with my family, explore, and go to other states. I’d be free to watch my son’s hockey game. But because I’m different – because of this disability – because my body is different, I’m held hostage in NJ.
Come on USA. It’s time.