More About Me

Keeping in mind that I was always completely sober at work, do you think using marijuana on my own time made me an inept employee?

You be the judge:

On and off during my career in the news, I used marijuana in my free time. I started my professional career as a paid intern for a news station in Seattle when I was 21, and left with high regards and several references.

I went on to attend my senior year at the University of Oregon’s College of Journalism and Communications. That year, I was in charge of the school’s only weekly television news program, DuckTV News. As a producer, I was responsible for co-instructing a class of 15 to 25 of my peers, leading an editorial meeting and developing the weekly newscast centered around campus life.

I got my first on-air reporting job when I was 22 and still finishing up my senior year of college. I had been applying for jobs that spring when my teacher and mentor (the head of the broadcast news program at U of O) received a call from the news director of a local station. He asked her if there were any students she’d recommend for their open reporter position and without hesitation she said, “Cyd Dutcher.” There were several other students who would have jumped at the opportunity, but she chose me. She gave me a stellar reference, I got the interview and was quickly hired.

During that first year of reporting I was promoted from the Roseburg Bureau position to reporting in Eugene within five months. Just weeks after that, I was filling-in at the anchor desk. It was tough work and I was making just $11.25 an hour, but I always tried my best.

After exactly one year at that job, my station was sold to new owners. Nearly the entire news staff was laid off, including myself, but I bounced back quickly.

I landed an anchoring position in less than two months at another station in town. Starting in August 2013, I worked there for one year and nine months. I worked hard, Wednesdays through Sundays, still making very little money ($12 an hour the first year, $13 an hour the second). During the week, I produced and reported for the nightly newscast. Each Saturday and Sunday morning I started my workday at 3:00am and was responsible for producing and editing a newscast, then anchoring it by myself at 8:00am.

I never once overslept or missed out on work, but what I did miss out on were holidays, family reunions, parties, dates, vacations, baby showers… All for an incredibly stressful job that devalued me.

The day I was forced to take a drug test, I was honest with my immediate supervisors about my marijuana use. Since they knew me, trusted me, and wanted to keep me on the team, it wasn’t immediately clear what was going to happen with my job. In the end, it was out of their hands. The decision to fire me came from a corporate attorney, who had never even met me.

Alcohol use outside of work can easily affects a person’s job performance, yet it is acceptable for employees to not only drink during their free time, but also to frequently talk about their drinking antics around the office.

Marijuana use, also outside of work, never negatively impacted my job performance. Marijuana doesn’t come with a hangover. Marijuana doesn’t damage my brain. Marijuana doesn’t make me hit my husband, or encourage me to make rash decisions. Yet my marijuana use alone was seen as reason enough for me to lose my job.

It’s time to stop the hypocrisy. If you’re okay with alcohol, there’s absolutely no reason you should have a problem with my marijuana use.

33 thoughts on “More About Me

  1. Cyd, you have my sympathy and full agreement with your very intelligent, reasonable view on marijuana use. I have been arguing this same point – alcohol is way more dangerous in every way than pot has ever been. Whoever heard of a person “high” on pot going on a rage-filled rampage? Of course, now the media is focusing on any story where a driver who crashed into someone else had pot in their system. But when you read further, other drugs (including alcohol) are usually present as well. Granted, one can smoke or ingest too much pot to be able to drive or do anything complicated (I’ve been there), and should not be behind the wheel under any circumstances because of it. While I haven’t used pot on a regular basis (I smoked it for the first time in Mexico a couple of years ago, after having not smoked since the 80’s!), I am all for the legalization and responsible use of it. I believe there is a lot of promise in the use of it medically. My husband suffered from Multiple Myeloma and had obtained a Medical Marijuana license in 2011 after talking with a friend who was getting great relief with it from his serious back problems. There was research showing that the oil produced from marijuana was actually reversing some cancers. The problem was that in 2011 there was no chance of getting that oil without the possibility of prison — it was highly illegal. We didn’t even know where to get pot — Beaverton’s few pot stores were closed down one by one because of “illegal practices”. I will never know if my husband might have benefited from the oil — I lost him in September of that year.

    The problem with marijuana is the fact that, even though you might have smoked it on a Friday night, on Monday morning when you return to work, it’s still in your system, and stays there for 7-10 days. They apparently didn’t think this through when they put the legislation through legalizing it. I’ve been saying this for some time — they need to come up with a test that can pinpoint exactly how much THC is in the system, and what the “acceptable” level is for the safe operation of a motor vehicle, or even machinery at the workplace. It’s almost like they are determined NOT to do this because the powers that be do not want this legalization to happen. There is no reason why you should’ve been fired. Anyone can have a fender bender, especially when they’re stressed and in a hurry to get somewhere! I’ve had one, and more than a few close calls, and I was stone-cold sober, other than my morning espresso.
    I’ve read different accounts of how and why marijuana became classified under the same category as heroin and other REALLY dangerous drugs. One of them is that, way back when cotton was king as far as fibers for clothing and other goods, hemp started getting very popular as an alternate fiber, and the cotton producers began getting very worried. They supposedly came up with a story about the dangers of the plant, and this grew into a huge deal about the deadly effects of using marijuana. Even Hollywood got into the picture (Reefer Madness, anyone?), even though I’ll bet a huge majority of them were potheads. The only reason was to outlaw the growing of hemp so that the cotton growers could continue making lots of money.

    It’s time we stop this nonsense. Although I don’t smoke it, I would like the ability to purchase edibles, because I’m developing painful arthritis in my fingers and a friend with a Medical Marijuana card let me try some salve containing cannabis on my fingers, and I got relief! So I’ll be off to my doctor to talk to her about getting a medical marijuana card so that I can legally get this stuff.

    Like anything else, there are those who just want to lie around and get high all the time. Just like there are alcoholics who want to drink all the time. Getting some thc level guidelines in place will weed out (ha – I made a funny) those people who shouldn’t be behind the wheel or operating dangerous equipment. For the rest, like you, it should stop the senseless overkill of punishing a reasonable and responsible user like you. Shame on them!

    Sorry for the long-winded diatribe, but I have been frustrated by this whole fiasco and it’s nice to vent. I wish you the best of success, and hope that you will find redemption from the senseless wrong that’s been done to you.

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  2. I always assumed one of the biggest obstacles to getting it legalized was a lack of a way to test if someone was high right now, at this very moment. Without such a test to give to people driving recklessly, a lot of politicians would rightfully be hesitant to open up such a messy new subject of legislation.

    However, now that a few states legalized it anyways, that test which was supposedly next to impossible to invent, supposedly has been already discovered by a college research group. I can’t find the link right now, and it’s also still in testing stages, but to have vast progress in just a few years shows you what the world of science is capable of when market and community demand is so dang high.

    Now that we (potentially) have our hands on such a testing device, I think you should try to use your platform to raise more awareness that such tests are already far in development, and use that as a way to tell politicians and anti-activists that arguably the biggest safety roadblock in the way to legalization has almost been entirely removed, which should make the choice to legalize a much easier choice to make now.

    Thanks for taking a stand and trying to catalyze the nation into an inevitable future a few months or years quicker than the pace it’s currently on.

    ///////

    Question 1: Can you provide links to research on how being high affects intelligence and logic? A popular topic in weed culture is how it makes you feel stupid and forgetful while high. While being drunk can get to those problematic levels as well, for the first many drinks, tipsy is more of an issue of having a body that won’t cooperate with your mostly normal brain. Whereas with weed it’s more of a binary, you’re either high, or you’re not, and when you are, you can’t figure out things like normal, you’re extremely forgetful, and the list goes on. Despite wanting it to be legalized for the sole reason that people should be able to have the responsibility to use it if they use it responsibly, I still have to admit that I’m worried what will happen when 100s of millions of people will be walking around in a stupid haze and not able to function on their normal levels in society. I would like to see research on just what exactly that diminished amount of IQ is while high. No study can be perfect in this area, but even a ballpark quantified estimation would help. When I’m high am I only 80% functional? 50%? How bad is it per ____ metric of weed? If we are going to be using is responsibly, we need more data (or to make previous data more public) showing exactly how careful we have to be when using weed.

    Question 2: This is not a popular opinion, but, I have never once driven drunk, but I can guarantee that even a very drunk me could drive more safely than even a mildly high me, and that’s scary to me. I’ve learned that weed in same doses as others use, it affects me far greater. While I’m not a scientist with a lab (and yes this is my anecdotal evidence so you should be hesitant to believe me), to me it’s still blatantly obvious that it hits me way harder than anyone else I’ve ever smoked/ingested with, which is why I almost never use it. Anything more than a little and it feels like what I would imagine a crazy peyote trip would be like, where I feel out of body and can’t even talk or hold a pencil. I’ve learned that my sister and mom both had similar extreme experiences and that both only did it once and then swore to never did it again, so I want to know if there Are there studies showing that some genetics process/interpret the chemicals differently? I know that with cilantro there’s an actual gene in the body that for some people the gene tells them to interpret it as a poison, and for the rest of the population it’s just another taste. Is there any evidence that some people feel more effects than others when smoking/ingesting the same amount of weed? Yes, I know there are indica and sativa varieties, and I’ve tried both, and both still made me feel almost insane. Despite still thinking it should be legalized, be aware that there are probably a lot of people like me out there who get freaked out when high in ways that aren’t similar paranoia, and on your road as an activist, once it continues to be legalized, be prepared to as a society deal with the incidents it will bring. While I don’t expect full on bath salt nude freakouts, if it’s legalized in every state, then I do expect NYC to have at least 5 people a day wandering around in the middle of traffic and not knowing what’s going on, and dying from it. I always side with citizens being able to make their own decisions so long as they don’t jeopardize the security of others, but in cases like this, it would likely cause harm to others. While I wholeheartedly agree it’s far, far safer than alcohol, please don’t also try to brand weed as 99.99% safe. It’s better than alcohol, but not perfect. Sorry for going a little off topic. Would love to hear your answers to both my questions. Thanks, and thanks for making your video/site!

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  3. Hi Cyd,
    I randomly ran across your blog today and I think its great that you are an advocate now. However, I would like to suggest that you stop advocating for marijuana and advocate for cannabis. Marijuana or marihuana is a racist and derogatory term conceived in the 1920’s. Marijuana is the plant that Mexican immigrants brought into the US to corrupt kids, make people lazy…etc. Cannabis is the actual name of the plant and speaks to the true nature of today’s professionally cultivated and regulated weed for adults only. Terminology is key as people have preconceived notions about particular words and just like how we’ve stopped using old ignorant/bigoted terms like mongoloid, we need to stop using marijuana.

    Other terminology issues to consider when discussing cannabis legalization:

    Calling for legalization of adult-use rather than recreational (eventhough this is what Colorado calls it). Soccer moms think their kids smoke recreationally so take the guessing game out of the equation: its for adults.

    People that smoke today are cannabis consumers (or patients on the medical side), not users. Most people associate the word user with hard drugs like heroin and their users. And, most people have strong negative opinions on hard drug users that you want to avoid when talking about the cannabis plant…. Adults consume cannabis just like we consume alcohol, mostly responsibly.

    —Also, I would have sent this privately, but I couldn’t find any other way to contact you.

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  4. One door closes another one opens. I believe you’ll be happier and find this more rewarding, you’ll be more successful and help more people than the media job. It does make me sad and very angry that you worked very hard and made sacrifices to attain your goals (I read your profile on LinkedIn and was very impressed but couldn’t connect ) I used marijuana to get off of opiates. I was taking Oxycontin (time release) 3 times a day and oxycodone in between for back pain. 2 years later I couldn’t stand taking the pills. ( about 150 200 mg/day) My whole life revolved around those pills. And once you body acclimates to the opiates it actually make your body more sensitive to pain. With the help of my Dr. and marijuana I got through it. That doesn’t mean I didn’t go through withdrawal however, it made it a lot easier. I was not going to be another government statistic going from pharmaceuticals (the real gateway drug) to heroin. There are senators who recently took action against Congress and demanded answers by 8/30 as to why they are blocking research and why the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) are the only one ones allowed by federal law to grow marijuana and do research. They only research is what “harm” it could do. They make it up or “speculate”. Also I want to know why the US Government took a US Patent 6630507 titled “Cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants” which is assigned to The United States of America, as represented by the Department of Health and Human Services. This is what the patent states
    “Cannabinoids have been found to have antioxidant properties, unrelated to NMDA receptor antagonism. This new found property makes cannabinoids useful in the treatment and prophylaxis of wide variety of oxidation associated diseases, such as ischemic, age-related, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. The cannabinoids are found to have particular application as neuroprotectants, for example in limiting neurological damage following ischemic insults, such as stroke and trauma, or in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and HIV dementia.” The patent was obtained on 10/2003.
    Why are we electing these self serving morons. Don’t believe me watch this (2 min) and go light up because you won’t believe what you hear. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cesSRfXqS1Q.
    Then there’s the Shafer Commission brought to you by tricky Dick Nixon. Link to the report http://www.beyondthc.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Nixon-Shafer.pdf.
    Thank you for taking the position you believe in and standing up for your rights as well as the rights of everyone.
    Keep up the good work!

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  5. We will be needing several reporters for our professional sports team in San Diego. I hope you will be available in several months when we are going to be hiring.

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  6. Sid, I read your story and I more than understand. I lost a job because they became aware that I was smoking on my own time and told me I could leave or they would fire me. Utter shock, I was 40 with many kids at home and boom, job over. I was in a terrible car accident and then a slip and fall, and have a 99 year old back. Cannibis has taken me from heavy medications every four hours for 15 years to none. Not one, I could tell you so much more, infertility and Cannibis, I would love to write your story or link your blog to my page.

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  7. Cyd –

    Sorry about your work situation. It is truly unfortunate and unfair. But I am proud of the way you have turned the situation around and used it for the greater good. I am the co-author of “Marijuana is Safer: So why are we driving people to drink?” and also co-wrote and managed the campaign for Amendment 64, which made marijuana legal in Colorado in 2012. I also co-founded SAFER (Safer Alternative for Enjoyable Recreation) in 2005 in order to educate the public about the relative harms of marijuana and alcohol. In your three-minute video, you managed to capture the exact spirit and tone of the work we have been doing for more than a decade.

    I continue to be very active in the movement to reform marijuana laws and would be very interested in talking to you about your budding activism. I would love to help in any way I can. Shoot me an email if you want to chat — steve@crcr.org will work.

    Hope to hear from you soon.

    Steve Fox

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  8. Hi,
    I haven’t had the time to ready all the other comments,
    but I would like to ask if you are going to have the company attorney that had to let you go,( for insurance reasons obviously), prove you were using on the day of the car accident? Because that seems to be the problem these days. I use to drive a big rig under my own business, but I knew sense I used marajuana, I was taking a big risk. All it would have taken was one careless driver to pull out in front of me and unavoidably get hurt or possibly worse , and I would be forced to test by the DOT and I would have either gone to prison for involuntary man slaughter or spent my life’s savings and my family’s too, just trying to prove that one simple question!!!
    Was I useing that day?
    Well there are test to tell the amount of THC that is in your system down to the nana-graham. And that is what it’s gonna take to save a lot of folks in your situation. Better testing, and people having the knowledge to ask for a more accurate test to be done. Just think, you could still have your job if it were up to the testing facilitater to prove how long it had been sense you had used!
    I guess that is what we need to be talking about next after legalization… PROPER TESTING for users.
    Anyway, I’m sorry to hear you lost a good job behind public ignorance. I know you aren’t the first and won’t be the last.
    Peace Mike C.

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  9. Hi, Cyd. What a bummer. Marijuana is still illegal under federal law, and your company (like most) don’t want the liability or stigma of having employees who are violators. Unfortunately, you were outed after having an accident in the company car while being on the job. That allowed for the drug test. While work accidents aren’t completely avoidable, those who drive for a living or are in dangerous occupations may not want to use. For those who enjoy using, maybe being an independent contractor or in a low accident-risk industry is a better choice. BTW- You are terrific and I wish you great success in your future endeavors!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. How close was your testing and firing to Charlo Greene’s dramatic quitting of her job up in Alaska? Any chance they were afraid of something like that? It’d suck if one cannabis activist ended up accidentally screwing over another. In any event, good for you for taking such a public stance. And as talented as you are, you’ll be back on your feet in no time.

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  11. I can’t believe they fired you. That’s horrible! I really enjoyed watching you on the news. The hypocrisy with demonizing cannabis and not alcohol is outrageous. Look at all the beer commercials on TV. They make it all look like fun, but they fail to show the violence, car accidents, deaths, bodily damage, etc…

    Everyone just seems to ignore how bad alcohol is in comparison because alcohol’s been legal for some time (so people just accept it as okay) and because of all the government propaganda. Reagan called it “The most dangerous drug in the world.” Really???

    Bet your bosses over there at KEZI have no problem drinking beer or wine. Again, hypocrites.

    Good luck, Cyd

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  12. I also understand the frustrations of being fired for some silly reason other than your competencies. I was fired from Tyco after an accident although I was on their fast track program for career advancement and never showed up to work under any influence.

    Congratulations on your efforts and following your passion. I am an engineer and also face the same struggles. I finally started my own business and I’ve been able to continue my work under my own testing guidelines lol…

    I wrote a book called “Chronic” by a pseudonym Peder Valentine, available on Amazon. It chronicles our exact struggle. If I can help in any way, please let me know.

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  13. Do what Americans do best, band together! The Cannabis Users Union is a new startup movement in Colorado gathering courageous heartened and open minded Cannabis users everywhere. We are setting out to replace outdated and discriminatory Cannabis drug screening with a better way to determine if an employee is impaired on the job. We show employers interested in making good financial decisions regarding employee safety and drug screening policies how easy it is to replace their ineffective outdated Cannabis drug screening practices with more accurate and sensible nondiscriminatory on-site impairment testing. This frees up nonessential positive Cannabis screening results (false flag positives) and creates an environment for adults 21 & over to use Cannabis (should they choose) on their time off. Meanwhile employers maintain the ranks of their skilled work force. It’s a win-win for employers and employees alike! cannabisusersunion.com. Join Us Today!

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  14. Cyd, let’s talk. Max Simon here, the founder of GreenFlowerMedia.com. We can help you tell your story on a much bigger scale. Look for an email from someone on my team. Thanks for stepping forward. Much love, Max

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    1. Hi Stephanie! I called you today. I’ve looked into Green Flower Media and I’m definitely interested in hearing more. I hope to hear back from you soon.

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  15. Cyd,
    I write occasionally for Freedom Leaf magazine, and they’ve asked me to do an interview with you for our next issue. I’d also like for you to be a guest on a radio show I host, Century Of Lies. Please email me at dougmcvay@gmail.com if you’re interested.
    Cheers,
    Doug

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  16. Hi Cyd,

    I just read a blog interview on you. Great interview and again you actually have millions who support you if they could really come out. I wanted to get this out to you. Check out this article at safeandsmartpolicy.org. Maybe you already know about it and I am sure you are overwhelmed with many things right now. This article really has so much to do with you and what you are standing up for. The article is “The Uneasy Case for Marijuana as Chemical Impairment Under a Science-Based Jurisprudence of Dangerousness.” It is a fact based study that really brings out the false perceptions that many people are assuming about cannabis users and driving and even relates exactly to employment laws. It promotes science-based studies which go against the prohibitionists thoughts. Hope it helps you and many others. Quite a read, but it makes a point that Corporate America and the politicians do not want people to know. God Bless.

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  17. Hello Cyd, thank you so much for fighting for change!
    I was just left go from a state job, because I tested positive for marijuana, I told my employers that I will be clean if they ever tested me again, but due to policy, there was nothing I could do. So I am asking you, How can I help! It is total discrimination to deny someone a job for doing something completely legal. Based on an test that detects can range from 7-100 days after use. I feel terrible, and no one else deserves to be treated like this! Is there any advocacy groups or could you point me in the right direction?

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    1. Hi Nathan! I’m so sorry to hear that happened to you. I would say one of the best things you can do is keep talking about your situation, and why you shouldn’t have lost your job. Knowledge is power, and sadly, so many are lacking the truth about cannabis. Many still hold a very negative stigma against those who consume cannabis, so it’s up to us to change their minds through education and exposure. That’s the only way we’re going to get the unfair laws and policies to change. I wish you the best of luck! Thanks so much for reaching out 🙂

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  18. Hello Cyd and everybody, great subject, I am 62 yrs old have medial card I enjoy the weed choices, hard to believe tobacco products are still legal, and ok to get a job! my lady friend just quit smoking cigs after 38 yrs ! at 54 it is killing her! and drinks daily , ok to keep job, yet have a weed puff get caught $ 70,000 a year job gone, our system is ill , I may not see feds change law in my life time but it will! proud of you for speaking up at 25 years old, I was busted for weed 2 times 40 yrs ago, I have been waiting my lifetime for weed to be legal yeh!!

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  19. Good morning Cyd…
    I just read about your story this morning, and for one I’m sorry that happened to you! Obviously you demonstrated during your college and professional career that being a user of marijuana did not affect you abilities as a student and as a full-time employee. I have used marijuana in the past, and would prefer to use it again vs alcohol, but I also don’t want to lose my job if i were tested. I have chronic osteoarthritis pain in my knees from overuse during high school sports, and I also have glaucoma; both of which would benefit from me using marijuana. I work at a stressful job, and marijuana would help me relax after a long day, without the dangerous side effects of alcohol. I work in a facility as a nurse where I take care of elderly patients, but I also take care of patients my age and younger who have had their lives destroyed by alcohol use; including but not limited to severe liver cirrhosis, kidney problems and brain damage where they can’t function without 24-hour care. I hope someday there will be someone or some people with big enough balls and also the brains to realize that marijuana laws are inept, and that marijuana use offers far fewer problems than alcohol. Count me as one of your supporters! My state of Minnesota has finally legalized medicinal marijuana, but it sounds as if a person needs to be near deaths door to obtain use. Drew

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  20. Hi, and I read,,,not sure the actual title but there has been talk in legal circles of exactly what happened to you cannot be prosecuted for a test showing positive results for “cannabanoids” as the effects did not in certain cases cause the accident as the metabolites or…forget the chemical term are still in the body but did not cause the accident but because of policy of where you worked, was company vehicle and the test showed that — but legally cannot prosecute/punish you for that…but I bet you already went into all the legal aspects of that action…interesting article. Glad to hear someone of your accomplishments, degree, work etc and voice and striving for change, education and empowerment of getting the real legal and scientific news out there of truths and not stigmas.

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  21. A little hypocrisy: My husband did 2 tours in Iraq, & has severe ptsd. He now works with the VA (veterans affairs) hes a therapist for other vets on their own ptsd. 4 out of 5 days he comes homes stressed if not from his own ptsd, then from his clients own ptsd. In the past, on these stressful days, I have offered him a smoke when he got home, to help him sleep. He said it worked & he felt better. But out of fear of drug tests & loosing his job he has stopped all together. So now my husband comes home, is up all night (bc of nightmares), only to go back to a vicious cycle of stressed at work, stressed at home and exhausted at work the next day. This is the biggest load of hypocrisy that I have ever witnessed. My husband helps other vets with their issues and he’s not allowed to have cannabis to help himself. No instead all that he’s allowed to have is anti-depressants (bc that’s not a drug right!?!) Anyways Cyd, please keep doing what your doing, a lot of people need this stigma & hypocrisy to be over already! Thanks for all your work!

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