On January 19, 2010, Senate election day, a group of volunteers with MassCann/NORML collected more than 1000 postcard signatures to present to Rep. Jeffrey Sanchez, Chair of the Joint Comm. On Public Health, to bring H 2160, “An Act to regulate the medical use of marijuana by patients approved by physicians and certified by the department of public health” to a vote in the Committee.
We asked one of the volunteers, Shaleen Aghi Title about her day of collecting postcards.
Shaleen is the speakers bureau director of LEAP, also an attorney and a proud member of MassCann/NORML.
What lead you to volunteer your day in the cold election day weather?
I wanted to collect cards from medical marijuana supporters because I know that most people already agree that sick patients should have access to their medicine. I wanted to help show Rep. Sanchez that he has nothing to be scared of if he calls for a vote on this issue – his constituents want this. I heard about the opportunity from Mass Cann.
How were the voters responding to the postcard signature gathering?
Despite the cold and the steady rain, the majority of voters walking out didn’t need any persuasion – they were immediately on board to help. My experience was consistent with the recent ABCNews poll that 81 percent of Americans support legalizing medical marijuana. Many were surprised to hear that Rep Sanchez didn’t already support patient access. Some of the comments I heard included “Of COURSE, how could anyone be against this?” “Just legalize it already” and “We can’t let California get that far ahead of us”.
What this I’ve heard about an angry Police Officer?
There was an off-duty police officer who was wearing a sweater, but you could see his uniform underneath. I approached him and asked him, as I had asked everyone, if he would like to help patients obtain safe access to medical marijuana. He loudly proclaimed that he would like to sign it and took a card. I realized afterward that his grand plan had been to draw a lot of attention to himself and then rip up the card and reveal he was a police officer, shocking everyone in the process. It didn’t quite turn out that way – as he started to write on the card, he yelled loudly “I absolutely would like to sign this, except that, in fact-” *dramatic pause* something like “this is an outrageous, idiotic, asinine-” at this point he ripped up the card, and I started to laugh – “and YOU are idiotic, insane…” Then he saw my LEAP “Cops Say Legalize Drugs” pin and lost all ability complete a sentence. “Oh, this is just – I can’t believe this – oh that’s just…!!”. You could see an ugly combination of racism, sexism, and general outrage in his face. At that point a crowd was gathering and I was losing the ability to control my laughter, and he walked away muttering. I called our web site, copssaylegalizedrugs.com, out to him in case he wanted to check it out. After about 5 minutes, he came back, in a truck, and yelled out the window something unintelligible about “people like us”.