Cheryl Miller, a Multiple
Sclerosis sufferer who became a potent and prominent activist for medical
marijuana, died of her disease Saturday morning in a hospital near the
Silverton, New Jersey, home she shared with her husband and fellow activist,
Jim. Funeral services were held in New Jersey this week, and her
ashes will be interred in her native Oklahoma.
Miller, who found that marijuana
provided more effective relief for her pain and other symptoms than any
other pharmaceutical agent and who typically used it in a tincture or in
foods made using marijuana butter -- she was never a recreational smoker
-- became increasingly visible in the medical marijuana movement, participating
with her husband in medical marijuana marches, with Jim pushing her wheelchair,
or later, hospital bed, as they marched. By the late 1990s, the Millers
had turned their activism up a notch, with Cheryl publicly taking her medicine
from her bed in front of the New Jersey state capitol in 1997, and again
at the office of US Rep. James Rogan (R-CA) -- a one-time medical marijuana
supporter in California's assembly who changed his tune for the worse after
entering Congress -- in 1998.
(photos courtesy IMMLY)
The following year, the Millers
joined in protests at the offices of uber-drug warrior Rep. Bob Barr (R-GA),
with Jim carrying Cheryl from her wheelchair and laying her in front of
Barr's office door. While New Jersey state troopers were too embarrassed
to arrest Cheryl and Jim, the congressman had no such compunctions.
[Barr, fine specimen of prosecutorial humanity that he is, sneeringly called
Cheryl "a human prop."] The Millers treated their arrests as another
means of education and agitation -- the Capitol-focused newspaper "Roll
Call" ran a photo of Jim and Cheryl with supporting demonstrators blocking
Barr's office doorway -- and used their prosecutions to spread the word
about marijuana's soothing powers.
Jim & Cheryl Miller with
Gary Storck & Jacki Rickert,
outside Bob Barr's office
A member of the advisory
board of the Wisconsin-based medical marijuana rights group Is My Medicine
Legal Yet (http://www.immly.org) and
founder of the Cherylheart Project (http://www.cherylheart.org),
Miller helped engineer Barr's downfall last year. As part of a Libertarian
Party campaign to oust the "worst of the worst" drug warriors from Congress,
Cheryl played a starring role in commercials run against Barr in last year's
primary. "Bob Barr thinks I should be in jail for using my medicine,"
said bedridden Miller, struggling to speak. "Why would you do that
to me, Bob?" [Voice-over]: "When the drug war turns on our
own sick and dying, it's gone too far. And so has Bob Barr."
Then Miller, struggling again, repeats: "Why would you do that to
Barr lost that primary.
Cheryl and Jim Miller were
supposed to be at the annual NORML conference in San Francisco in April
to accept the Peter McWilliams Award for Outstanding Achievement in the
Cause of Medical Marijuana, but IMMLY founder Jacki Rickert and IMMLY member
Gary Storck had to accept for the Millers. Cheryl was too sick to
make the trip. Cheryl also didn't make it to Washington one last
time to lobby Congress in support of Barney Frank's "States' Rights to
Medical Marijuana Act," as she and supporters had hoped to do this year,
due to a delay in the reintroduction of the bill until last month, for
which they were waiting.
Storck has promised that
a larger patient delegation than they were initially planning will come
to Washington, in Cheryl's honor, and the visit may include an event for
members of the public to come out and meet them.
This article offers only
the barest beginning of a tribute to Cheryl Miller's life and contributions
to the movement. Visit http://www.cherylheart.org
and http://www.immly.org to learn more.
-- END --
Issue #291, 6/13/03
Editorial: The Rule of Law | Global Social Forum Meeting in Cartagena to Draw Broad Spectrum of Global Activists for Colombia Focus -- DRCNet Will Be There | Anatomy of a Victory: How Reformers Rolled Back Souder and the Drug Czar | Ontario Marijuana Laws in the Twilight Zone | Jacksonville Hemp Fest Marred by Police Violence, Warrant Issued for Organizer for Obstructing (In)Justice | Drug Reform and the Democratic Presidential Nominating Process | Sad Day in the Medical Marijuana Movement: Medical Marijuana Patient and Activist Cheryl Miller Passes Away at 57 | DRCNet Urgently Needs Your Donations -- Sullum Book Offer Still Going | This Week in History | Newsbrief: European Union Presidency Calls for Frank Discussion of Drug Laws | Newsbrief: Demonstrations Mark Thailand Drug War Killings | Newsbrief: Oregon Medical Marijuana Provider Gets Prison Time | Newsbrief: Drug Czar Declares War on Summer | Newsbrief: Supreme Courts Again Says No to Cincinnati Drug Zone Ban Law | The Reformer's Calendar
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