A few weeks ago baby Violet and I journeyed to the capitol in Helena to comment at a medical marijuana hearing. For the past few years I’ve been helping support my family as a home-based medical marijuana provider, but new regulation passed by the state last year has driven me out of business. I loved my job, so when I heard there was an interim committee hearing to overhaul this legislation I decided to speak up.
Public comments come at the end of a meeting, and I started by apologizing for Violet being such a distraction. One of the older legislators immediately raised her hand and said, kindly, “Babies are never a problem.” And I thought, “She’s right!” People like me getting involved in activism in their 30s, so often we come with little kids — that keeps many of us from getting involved until we’re retired. But the truth is that we’re out here paying taxes, building businesses (or trying to), and sending our kids to school every day, and our perspectives are crucial to understanding how things are going right now for the average family, or the average medical marijuana provider.
Far from a problem, Violet’s presence made things personal; it was natural for me to then say, “This matters because obviously I have a baby to support, and there are hundreds of small providers like me across the state.” Most of the other people commenting represented large providers, and I realized if I hadn’t shown up the committee wouldn’t have heard anything from a business my size. I don’t know what will happen with the legislation going forward, or if I’ll be able to re-open my business in the future, but it was empowering to speak up. I’ll be tracking the legislation going forward and would love to chat with anyone interested in politics/activism!