Letter to My Daughter

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Dear Maryjane,

Hi Pumpkin Pie, it’s Daddy. You’re 9-years-old as I write this and I don’t know when you’ll be reading it, but I hope you still let me call you that. Right now you are too young to understand what I am doing or why it is important or why I am so passionate about it. All you know is I work and have to travel a lot.

I am working to reform marijuana laws. I have been working in the movement to do so since I was in college, as a Congressional intern. When I was there, I met a young man and his parents, who told me how he was kicked out of his college dorm room for having a single marijuana seed on his desk. He ended up losing his Federal grant and a student loan because of it. He was forced to drop out of school. This young man’s life was ruined because of a seed from a plant.

I did not realize it at the time, but that tale would change my life.

I hope I have done a good job in instilling in you a sense of duty to stand up for people who cannot stand up for themselves, to fight injustice wherever you see it and to question authority. I hope I have also shown you how amazing you are, how strong, creative, kind, smart, beautiful and sweet you are. I hope you are using the latter to work for the former.

Standing up for what is right is important, and especially so when it is not easy or when it does not affect you directly. That is why I was proud the first political donation I ever made was to a gay rights group and why I fought for gay rights even though I am heterosexual. That is why I joined the League of Women Voters so long ago and am so passionate about women’s issues.

We are all only as strong as the weakest among us and the best way for all of humanity to be stronger, happier and better is to lift your brothers and sisters up with you whenever you can. I have mostly been legalizing medical marijuana because I see really sick people who need help right now.

“I [am an activist] because we are all only as strong as the weakest among us and the best way for all of humanity to be stronger, happier and better is to lift your brothers and sisters up with you whenever you can. I have mostly been legalizing medical marijuana because I see really sick people who need help right now.”

Why am I telling you this? Because I believe I am standing up and fighting for what is right and I am helping people. It is not a theoretical ‘helps people,’ it is actual. I’ve met thousands of people who have told and shown me exactly why I must continue: patients, individuals and families who are struggling with much more than I am certain I could handle. Yes, it is very tough to be away from you and your brother, and I know the hours and travel are taking a brutal physical and mental toll on me, but I have a few little things to get me through.

The easiest trick is to accept thanks from people on your behalf. If someone shows their appreciation for the work I am doing or I win an award or I get a nice note, I know you deserve it more than me. When someone gives me an ‘attaboy’ for sitting through 16 hours of public testimony, I know you deserve it for giving up your daddy time for a day. When I am standing in an airport for the umpteenth time that week, dazed and wobbly on achy feet, I know there is a little girl who didn’t get a kiss good night or a hug from her dad that day.

The other way I get through my crazy days as a marijuana warrior is to imagine you growing up in a better world. I want you to laugh one day at the silliness of our quaint country long ago banning marijuana. I want you to be baffled people went to jail for growing a plant and putting it in their body. I want you to be thoroughly confused at the notion people were encouraged to put horrible chemicals in their bodies instead of marijuana.

Mostly though, I just want you to be proud of me. I don’t think it is possible for you to be as proud of me as I am you, but I promise to keep trying.

You have been so strong and I am sure if people could thank you for lending them your daddy for a little bit they would. In the meantime, I will appreciate you every day and fight as hard as I possibly can for what is right because you deserve a better world.

Love,

Daddy