How I Went From Local News Anchor to Marijuana Activist

By Cyd Maurer

Hi, my name is Cyd. I’m 25 years old, married, and a University of Oregon graduate. I’m a former local news anchor, reporter and producer. I’m a runner, an animal lover, a bubbly and generally optimistic person…

and I enjoy using marijuana.

If you’re someone who immediately jumped to negative conclusions about my life – ask yourself, what do you really know about marijuana? Because I’ve found most people who are adamantly against marijuana don’t know much about it. Furthermore, if you’re against marijuana, but enjoy drinking alcohol – ask yourself why? 

Alcohol kills millions of people each year and is involved in an alarming percentage of violent crimes. By comparison to alcohol, marijuana is harmless – both for personal use and for society, because unlike alcohol, marijuana does not kill, it doesn’t incite violence, and it doesn’t lead to criminal acts.

This is a public safety issue.

It’s time to break down the negative social stigmas, the laws, and the misguided policies that are forcing people to choose alcohol over marijuana. Because driving people toward drinking is dangerous, it’s hypocritical and it just doesn’t make sense.

My marijuana use had never negatively impacted my life, until recently, when I lost my job as a local news anchor. Like any other workday, I was completely sober. I was under a lot of stress, on my way to my live shot in a work vehicle during rush hour traffic, and I tapped the bumper of a car in front of me. I was immediately forced to take a drug test, to pee in a cup, and that was that.

The decision to fire me didn’t come from my immediate supervisors who worked with me everyday, who actually told me they wanted me to keep my job. That’s because my supervisors knew me, and trusted me, just like they trusted my coworkers who chose to drink alcohol in their free time.

No. The decision to fire me came from a corporate attorney who had never even met me.

I wasn’t fired because I couldn’t do my job. I wasn’t fired because of my work ethic, my attitude, or my abilities. I was fired for enjoying a plant, on my own time, in the privacy of my own home. A plant that the majority of voters in Oregon believe should be legal.

Thank you, fellow Oregonians! The magnitude of progress Measure 91’s success represents cannot be overstated. That being said, while marijuana is legal in Oregon and a handful of other states now, clearly – my and others’ stories prove we still have a long way to go.

When you consider the facts, it’s hard to believe that marijuana has been classified as a dangerous substance, but I think it’s at least partly due to a lack of exposure.  We need more realistic examples of normal and responsible marijuana users, so here I am!

Like countless other “stoners” out there, I don’t fit into the stereotypical “stupid, lazy, loser” stereotype.  In my life, the only thing I’ve been stereotyped as is an over-achieving goodie-goodie.

I’m educated and responsible. I’m a woman. The vast majority of people who meet me would never in their wildest dreams assume I use marijuana. But I do. And I’m tired of hiding it – and in fact, now I want people to take notice.

And that’s why I’m sharing my story. I want to start a conversation! Ask me ANYTHING! If you don’t agree with me, please, let me know! I want people to be informed, no longer misinformed.

I truly believe once people learn the facts about marijuana, they’ll be just as shocked as I am that this is even a debate.

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22 thoughts on “How I Went From Local News Anchor to Marijuana Activist

  1. While I agree with you on many points, I also disagree on many. You’re not as “informed” as you make herself out to be. I agree that you should not have been fired IF you could prove you weren’t under the influence of pot while on the job, much less while driving. Unfortunately, there’s no test to prove this. Too bad for you. On that note, you knew the station’s drug policy and took that chance. It’s about personal responsibility. Additionally, this happened in May; pot wasn’t legal in Oregon until July. I also worked as a news reporter in Eugene years ago and your statements that pot has NEVER led to anyone being hurt and has NEVER led anyone to criminal behavior is just idiotic, misguided and misinformed. That’s where you lose me. Just like alcohol, there are thousands (more) of people every year killed by people driving under the influence of pot. However, there are no statistics on this because, of course, it falls under the charge of DUII (Driving under the Influence of Intoxicants) and therefore gets attributed to alcohol-related accidents. Additionally, I can say that while reporting in Eugene, some of the most violent crimes I covered were about marijuana – one specifically was a home invasion in which the residents were tied up with duct tape and executed. Granted, I have found meth users to be responsible for the most violent of violent crimes… but, there are countless crimes related to marijuana including home invasions, car breakins, etc. And, just because pot is legal now doesn’t mean these crimes will go away. There will always be people willing to commit crimes to support their addictions — marijuana or otherwise. But, this is a matter of liability. We don’t live in a vacuum. UNLESS you can prove you weren’t under the influence WHILE on the job (which you can’t), this is a matter of liability for the company, especially since you were involved in an accident. So, to compare this to alcohol use is just ridiculous. Someone can prove they’re not under the influence of alcohol while on the job or at the time of an accident. Sorry, but while you SOUND ‘educated’, your argument is not and is that of a gradeschooler. This being said, I don’t think marijuana should be illegal. I agree with the legalization of pot. The crimes aren’t about the pot, but about those people. However, if you (Cyd) plan to become a marijuana activist, you really need to get your facts straight and BECOME more informed yourself or people won’t take you seriously. You need to change your argument. As a reporter, you should know to never use the word “never” – or ‘always’ in your arguments. 🙂 I wish you luck…

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    1. The real issue is actually inside out and is far more fundamental than whether cannabis should be legal (someone as perspicacious as POTUS should know this). In a free society, liberty is the default political condition. The burden of proof for any restrictions is on the government. Liberty is the political corollary to the legal principle of innocent until proven guilty.
      In a century, the government hasn’t learned the lesson of Prohibition; you can’t legislate morality. Understand, it’s not merely difficult-it’s oxymoronic. Forcing someone to be moral is a contradiction in terms since morality is the capacity to choose the good (or not). An activity in which all of the participants are consenting can be immoral, but it can only tautologically be a crime.

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    2. The criminal behavior to which you refer is the result of the criminalization of marijuana, not using it. To claim that thousands of accidents can be attributed to marijuana without offering evidence and then excusing that lack by contradictorily stating that there is an absence of data is disingenuous at best. In this country we hold a person to be innocent of a crime until proven guilty but you suggest that business should be exempt from that standard and permitted to require the accused to prove herself innocent because of liability issues, which is patently ridiculous. Moreover, the majority of people dismissed for smoking pot were not suspected of anything but fell victim to random or routine drug testing, so good luck proving that liability argument. Perhaps you can sway us with some actual statistics of workplace injury or negligence caused by pot heads, but I doubt it. You just come here with a preconceived notion of reality and then accuse people who actually know what they are talking about of ignorance. I wonder if that has something to do with your being an ex-journalist.

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  2. Welp. This just proves everyone is better off dropping acid, doing meth, cocaine, heroin, or any other number of ‘hard drugs’, if their workplace does drug tests…because all of the above are out of your system as soon as you come down from the high…You can do it the night before a pee test and not test positive. Cannabis can test positive for up to a month after use…

    So, everyone….just say YES TO REAL DRUGS.

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  3. We in Alaska have had a decision called Ravin vs SOA 1975 that possession of cannabis by an adult for personal consumption in their home doesn’t justify the State’s intrusion into a citizen’s right to privacy.

    It would seem that employment law is also governed by the right to privacy as well.

    That your employer would have to prove that the personal use of cannabis is a cause for your continued employment. Like your use of alcohol, prescribed or unprescribed medications, lack of sleep, or any condition such as a cold, headache, etc.

    These are conditions that the right to privacy is protecting.

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  4. Great job. Keep up the good work. Employer based drug testing policies need to be outlawed. It’s an antiquated, invasive, offensive system leftover from the 70’s that somehow has managed to hang on.

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  5. I wholeheartedly agree that it is wrong for companies to discriminate against responsible cannabis consumers. While it is going to be a long uphill battle to get most companies to drop these medieval requirements, there is definitely hope given the rising popular (ie: finally outspoken enough) support of legal cannabis.

    As someone who writes, produces, and edits videos for a living (both for entertainment and marketing purposes, among others), I’d like to offer my skills in order to help your cause, and the legalization cause in general.

    There are many fronts in this battle, your cause being one that is fairly new to the public eye, and awareness of it must be spread.

    I’m sure you have plenty of video production contacts coming from being a news anchor – but please don’t hesitate to email me if you would like to plan out a creative video campaign and need more people with skills in that area.

    Peace!

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  6. Cyd,
    I appreciate your testimony.

    Recently, after many, many years of defying the law on this point, and really, quite truly, just for the hell of it, I smoked marijuana legally for the first time. I inhaled deeply. Children, please do proceed with some degree of caution and within a spirit of sincere respect for this strange and primordial power!

    Just today, over morning dishes, I conceived the following koan:
    “a poem is a sort of dictionary entry for a word that doesn’t yet exist.”

    I also managed to briefly frame what at the time felt like momentous insights into the true nature of the connective viscera of culture’s center: moneypower, Love, Fashion, Fear, and the general, swooning obedience to Boldness, Cleverness, Honesty and Beauty that marks all men possessed of Ears and Eyes. For these and a thousand other luridly productive daydreams I cannot now recall, I suffered only the joy of a somewhat more urgent set of hungers, and the familiar pangs of existential terror that are the shadows of such bliss.

    You were bold to speak. It feels very radical and strange even now to broadcast such observances as ours. After all, many of us are parents, and all of us must keep an eye on our future political careers. All I mean to say is amen for the presently unfolding legal disentanglement of THC from the many more hostile substances to which marijuana served as a gateway drug through the many recent decades inasmuch as it was widely available, generally delightful, and categorized by authority with those things one was not to touch. Now, I do not doubt that many people, having once or twice cautiously or recklessly tried it, find the psychological rigors of marijuana’s influence disagreeable or even frightening, but for the far greater number for whom an occasional few puffs or nibbles miraculously soothes the workaday aches and pains, dilates time, sharpens moral acuity, loosens the boundary between waking and dreaming consciousness, makes food even more delicious, music more visceral, the commonplace, more strange–for whom it promotes giggling–for whom it does not quite cleanse the doors of perception, but at least slightly lubricates their hinges–trying the forbidden weed can only have shaken their credulity before Power. Assuredly, I do too see the dangers: regular consumption unquestionably leads to emotional dependency; it seems to impair the formation and recall of memory; it depletes the fuel of dreams; it may tragically deepen the isolation of the lonely; smoking it regularly can surely cause cumulative damage to mouth and throat and lungs; what may in small, infrequent doses heighten the senses, may in larger, more regular ones, dull them, and may well sometimes even help open the abyss of existential despair. One must also exercise some restraint and caution in lifting one’s face up to the sun.
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  7. I’m sorry about what happened to you, and I congratulate you on your decision to take the fight public. I recently lost a job offer on the basis of marijuana on a drug screen, and it was an absolutely awful feeling. To have someone decide that you are the best candidate based on your demonstrated skills and abilities and then decide that’s no longer true based on a small aspect of your life is beyond demoralizing. During the interview all three people I met with told me that they like to go wine tasting on a regular basis, and my immediate assumption wasn’t that they would show up to work intoxicated, though that seemed to be the assumption they had about me. It was a data entry position sitting at a computer, so there were absolutely no safety issues involved in the decision.

    Like any personal life decision using Cannabis has it’s pro’s and con’s, and I make decisions about my life with regard to that. I never smoke before work because it makes me less focused and less personable, and performing my job at a high level is very important to me. I don’t drive after I’ve smoked because I’m not comfortable with it. If I’m going to smoke I have to plan my day around that fact. Sometimes it sucks, but again it’s a decision I’ve made to mitigate the side effects of smoking, and is part of being a responsible adult and recreational user. Yes, residual THC metabolites have been shown to have a noticeable, lingering effect on cognition, but their impairment of your ability to drive or function at work isn’t as great as a lot of other issues can be, such as lack of sleep, poor diet and exercise, stress, medication, etc… Trust me, I have the college test scores to prove that Benedryl will affect your cognition far more substantially than Cannabis. So, that’s a bit of my take on the issue. I’m very interested in getting involved in some advocacy for employment protections for marijuana users, so if you have some leads on that let me know, I’d be interested to see how I could help.

    Thanks again for being a public figure on this issue, and I’d recommend staying away from Lars Larson’s show. Seeing as he is very pro business rights and still echoes the played out (and wrong) tune of “marijuana is a gateway drug” I don’t imagine he’d give you or your cause any justice. Best of Luck.

    ~B

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  8. Hey you are a true role model in the stoner society! It takes a lot of guts to go out there and take a stand. There is nothing wrong with it and more people like you would help end the prohibition on marijuana. #JustBlazeIt

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  9. “Fit for work” is a legitimate requirement for any organisation where an individual’s actions can lead to physical or monetary losses burdened upon the employer. So it is a fair question to ask “were you impaired at the time of the accident?” However, the means of asking the question MUST provide a clear answer.

    There are several aspects of the current procedures used to answer this question that fail any test as to capacity at a specific moment in time, e.g. the time of the accident. The current means of is based on measuring not THC levels, but a metabolite. This produces a number of problems with interpretation of the results.

    First, as a metabolite, it does not effect your abilities, i.e. it does not directly indicate impairment.
    Second, it does not indicate the level of the substance (in this case THC) in one’s system, hence it cannot tell us anything about the individuals capacities at the time of testing.
    Thirdly, it is retained for a period of time much longer than the impairing substance, hence yet again it fails as an indicator at a specific time.
    Finally, medical studies show that the metabolite only shows in a urinalysis up to 14 hours after injection. Hence for a considerable amount of time, someone who is impaired will produce a NEGATIVE test result.

    Clearly the current means of determining “fit for work” with regards to cannabis is flawed beyond any utility. It is hard for me to understand how any court confronted with these data would rule in favour of dismissal based on current means of testing
    .
    Good luck to you.

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  10. How brave of you. Thank you for saying what you did. I agree with you 100 percent. I am a smoker for medical use and I do enjoy it for recreation. I grow it myself as well and I trim crops in the winter. I am responsible with it. I don’t go out high. I enjoy it in my home. I hold a position on the local PTA board too. People need to be educated and this stigma needs to be removed. Now that is legal I got more family and friends asking me about it to use instead of alcohol. I hope we can change this stigma. Sorry about the job loss and I got your back girlfriend.

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  11. I commend you for putting yourself out there. Sadly, most people cannot make rational, reasonable decisions about issues like cannabis use for medicinal or recreational purposes until and unless it directly affects their personal life. For example, it’s easy to blame the single mom who’s using SNAP or the person who had to file bankruptcy because of a catastrophic health issue, etc.. Only when a similar crisis happens to an individual does s/he suddenly care and have a stake in the injustice. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. Humans have the full ability to make rational, empathetic decisions if they so choose without having to experience the issue, problem, disease or crisis firsthand, though this is becoming more of a rarity for a variety of reasons, such as parents raising kids who are weary of human interaction over technology and being focused on materialism instead of relationships, and much of this is passed on by example.

    I have been a medical cannabis user for 30 years. While I’m proud of my life achievements, I do not feel anyone needs to provide their dossier to be accepted as a cannabis user. A cannabis user does not have to be optimistic, middle-class, bubbly, college educated, white, etc. to be accepted by the public at large. Patients who are struggling with a disease or condition aren’t always optimistic or bubbly.

    I respectfully request that you: 1) Educate yourself on cannabis, such as it’s chemical make-up, various cannabinoids, receptors and how phytocannabinoids interact with humans’ own endogenous endocannabinoid system; and, 2) Take that self-awareness about your own injustice and apply it to others who don’t fit your demographics and use it out of necessity to maintain an acceptable quality of life.

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  12. Cyd,
    I followed your story when it first broke, and I wanted you to know I respect what you’re doing and appreciate you stepping out into the public eye. I am very much like you, an ambitious professional with goal and aspirations. I am a husband and a father. I don’t drink, I don’t smoke cigarettes, I don’t gamble or party. I am a responsible father that loves to spend quality time with my kids. I am a loving husband and always try to be kind and treat people with respect. To go along with all of that, I also enjoy marijuana.

    I started in the industry I work in about 6 years ago. I was always a quick learner and moved quickly up the ladder at every company I worked for. It eventually led me to a really good position for a large company with a good reputation. I worked hard for them, putting in long hours and dedicating hours of free time for community service and events sponsored by the company. Every yearly review, I was given exemplary marks, given the maximum raise and bonus every year and had an impeccable reputation in the industry. I was in line for a promotion and was given responsibilities of handling some of the largest and most difficult clients. I performed my job above and beyond what was asked of me and I put my heart into my work. I loved my job.

    This company had a policy that drug use was prohibited. However, it was well known that the only reason anyone would ever be drug tested were for the following reasons.
    -An accident where company property is damaged or an employee is hurt.
    -You are suspected of being under the influence
    -A complaint is made against you resulting in a “random test”

    I never once went to work high, or had my job effected by my off the clock marijuana use. I should point out that I live in Colorado, where laws had recently changed. So here is the story of how I lost my perfect job because I failed a drug test.

    I had a co-worker that was unhappy about her job title and pay. She felt she deserved the pay and title of a co-worked that had been there years longer, and she really didn’t like this co-worker. I later found out that this jealous co-worker called in an anonymous complaint about the other citing drug use and inappropriate relationships amongst other things. The complaint made its way to HR, who then decided to “randomly” drug test the entire department. I had smoked several days before the test, on a weekend. I failed the test. I was fired and told they had no tolerance. All my hard work and dedication to the company was forgotten in an instant and I was sent away. I was utterly devastated. I had never felt so ashamed and depressed in my life. I was able to find a job that was meant to get me by until I could get back to where I was. That was almost a year ago, and I have all but been blacklisted by the industry. I have had several interviews that I am over qualified for and a perfect fit, only to be turned down when they find out I was fired. My old co-workers who had become such good friends had all turned their back on me. No one wanted to be associated with someone like me. I pass by old co-workers, managers and bosses on the street and they pretend they don’t see me. This whole experience has changed me as a person. I lost so much confidence in myself. I always second guess my choices now, and have a hard time seeing the positives in life like I used to.

    After the initial shock wore off I really started to go through all of the stages of recovery. Starting with anger. I was so angry at the hypocrisy that this company operated. I was fired for off the clock marijuana use, that never once affected my ability to perform my job. Yet, this company sponsors numerous parties, golf tournaments, bbq’s, happy hours, charity events, etc. that all have free alcohol served to employees. Some of these employees have company vehicles they drive. Also, per the actions or non-actions, of this company alcohol use was being condoned. Employees coming into work hung over from a night of heavy drinking. Smelling of booze they arrive to work late, with red blood shot eyes. Its obvious to everyone that this person’s job is affected by their hangover. But how can you punish something that the company sponsors? Its a farce. I’ve been blacklisted and ostracized by an industry for my use of marijuana, yet the culture of alcohol is widely accepted and even encouraged.

    I wanted to share my story with you, because I admire your cause. I wish I had the courage to be open and come out of the closet so to speak. I still live in fear of losing my job again, even in a state that has legalized it. FIght the good fight and if I can help promote your message I certainly will.

    Thanks,
    DW

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    1. I am about to be in the same boat as you. The funny(ironic) thing is I work for a transportation company and 20% of the crew has been Arrested for Booze related DUIIs while employed with the company which will effect them from becoming drivers but they all got to keep their jobs without any discourse against them.

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  13. Thank you for stepping out, for being brave. This travesty has gone on long enough. I know from a personal viewpoint that Alcohol is much more dangerous and violent then Marijuana. Those that continue to believe otherwise are still under the influence of false propaganda. It is time to change this. There are many out here that are successful and law abiding that use Cannabis. It is an herb. It is not a hard drug, as it has been taught in modern times. It was a very useful medicine at the founding of our country. If those that are against Cannabis would take the time to research they would have to agree. Hope to see a major change in our great Country. God Bless America…

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  14. I commend you on taking up this cause. It’s so hypocritical and so completely random. If instead of pot you had been doing cocaine and drinking and was tested a few days later, your system would have come up clean! Unless you are testing people’s blood immediately after an incident, any other test discriminates against pot because it’s fat soluble. I am in a field where we have background checks as part of job applications which I totally understand because we are dealing with money, but we also have random “drug” testing which is a euphemism for testing only to see if you smoke pot ! I could get off work on Thursday and go to a party and basically down a bottle of vodka and an 8-ball. I could drink myself to oblivion for the whole weekend, then get back to work Tuesday, take a urine test and come up clean. If I took a hit off a joint at that same party, I’d test positive for pot for a couple of months! So are companies against drugs or are they against pot only? Recreational pot is only a misdemeanor in my state and I was looking forward to using it regularly again, but I still have to wait because I don’t want to risk losing my job. What makes it more frustrating is all your friends laughing because they are now partying regularly and you’re not! We are making huge progress on legalization. However, this is one hurdle I don’t foresee being removed for decades! Very frustrating!

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