Get Smart about Cannabis™

by Stephanie Annis

As I sat down to write my story it seems so much is blank yet so much was bigger than life. I was raised in a small home, my parents had little but always provided, and I was given the best education possible. When it comes to cannabis there are really only two memories which stand out in my mind; first, mistakenly thinking my little sister knew and second, is a toss up between finding my dad’s pipe and seeing his “tomatoes” in the basement.

I will always feel a bit of regret for saying to my sister “mom’s in there buying weed for dad.” We were so young, and she swears it traumatized her. It was the Reagan Just Say No era and the propaganda in schools. I also remember a nosy neighbor, not a close friend of the family, asking me if my dad smoked marijuana. Of course, I knew to act dumb and say “No, I don’t know what your talking about.”

Being raised with someone who had been taken from his mother and placed with our family made me dramatically aware that we could be taken from our parents. It is what I feared more than anything growing up. Thinking about my childhood I feel like it was both good and bad, happy and sad, just what life is a rollercoaster of ups and downs. My mind choose to remember the good.

My parents are still my best friends. We live in the same gated community. I spent nearly half my marriage living in my parents house; which is due to a lot of things but mostly the Great Recession. My husband is an amazing man; he likes the smell of cannabis but doesn’t smoke. Though he often says “I wish they made incense that smelled like marijuana.”

My life has been a rollercoaster since I was 18 years old. I was blessed with the great childhood and the perfect senior year of high school; complete with a high school sweetheart. Then high school ended and I started working. I was working two jobs. I quict the University after the third week. I wanted to work and earn money. Going to University was something that had been drilled into me from birth. I just wasn’t ready for it.

During that time, I didn’t realize how sick I truly was and it took a few years for me to realize just how sick I truly was and how much it was going to affect my life. I spent my time working, partying, doing the things people in their 20’s do. At first, I thought my symptoms were because I wasn’t living a healthy life. Then I was given the name of an illness I’d never heard of and given medicine I didn’t take often. I was in denial.

Two weeks after my 21st birthday my life changed forever; my first surgery. Then it started, surgery after surgery. Feeling and living as if my life was over, hitting rock bottom, and at the same time meeting my husband who was still grieving two years after the loss of his long time lover.

Together, we slowly brought joy back into each other’s life. We married on my parents 30th wedding anniversary and over a decade later we still live in the same gated community as my parents. My siblings have gone their own ways and build lives that didn’t include us; the reasons are not for me to guess, “such is life” not everyone stays connected. I’m grateful for my husband and parents, they are all I have.

I set out to become a Crohn’s activist and turned into a Cannabis activist.