by Vollie Rutledge, Jr.

I am a 42-year-old Caucasian male. I am not legally married but I am as married as I will ever be. I have four children 8, 10, 18, and 20. I am a disabled computer repair technician and I use marihuana for medicinal purposes.

In July of 1990 I was driving home from work and as I came around a corner doing 55 MPH I came into a herd of deer. I tried to miss them but one of them fell down and my right front tire went up on the deer's hip like a ramp. My car flipped over and went down an embankment. It landed on the roof smashing the driver's compartment down to the level of the top of the seat. I didn't have a seatbelt on so I was able to dive into the passenger's floorboard but even that didn't save me.

I woke up in the hospital a couple of days later with a broken vertebra. Medically it was called "an unstable fracture of the second vertebra" or C-2 fracture. This is the bone that they try to break when they hang you. Somehow it didn't kill me but it did paralyze my left side for a couple of weeks. When the feeling came back all of the nerves reacted spastically. If I reached for something I couldn't control where my hand was going. If I sneezed my hand would fly uncontrollably.

Several times I bloodied my nose with my left hand just sneezing. I finally learned to grab my left arm when I sneezed. I couldn't walk without a cane because I couldn't trust my left leg to go where I wanted it to. It was an extremely difficult time in my life. About two months after the accident I came home from the hospital. Some of my friends had come over to visit and as it was I sneezed. My arm came up and hit me in the face and bloodied my nose once again. I was embarrassed to say the least.

One of my friends (I'll call him Jeff) says "Man, you need to smoke a joint and mellow out a little bit. Maybe it'll help you relax." So I said "Sure, what the hell." Well, he rolled a joint and we smoked it and something happened. When I got stoned the muscles in my neck relaxed and when I reached for my coffee my arm went where it was supposed to. As long as I moved very slowly, I could move correctly.

Within a week I was using my hand to shuffle a deck of cards. I can't explain how dramatic the difference was. I went from not being able to eat with a fork (previously too spastic to grab and hold a fork) to shuffling a deck of cards and dealing them in just one week. Within three weeks I could walk without a cane. Once again I could trust my legs to go where I wanted them to.

Pretty cool huh? My wife didn't think so. Because I started doing "DRUGS", she took the kids and left. Then she went to the cops and told them and the next thing I know I was sitting in jail, my family is gone and I lost my home (I owned a 3 bedroom single wide) because the park I was living in evicted me because of a "drug charge". That was 8 years ago. I still smoke weed.

I see my kids whenever I can and life goes on. Washington State just passed a law in favor of medicinal marihuana but as far as can find out, it is legal to prescribe it, fill the prescription and for me to use it, but there is no place for the pharmacy to get it. So I still have to break the law or be spastic on the left side. The law can kiss my ass. I have a life to live and marihuana is the only drug that any doctor has found, in eight years of trying different drugs, that works.