Where I’ve been…

Written by Mark Pedersen

Written by Mark Pedersen

August 4, 2020

This article was originally published in the Medical Cannabis Journal.

The last few months have been another whirlwind for Tigger and I. With so much happening, I have neglected to let you’all in on our travels. I’m sorry. Jus been a matter of priorities.
I had planned to spend my 2019 Thanksgiving with my children. A year had slipped by since my last visit. Time escapes me these days…and, with Tigger, probation and my chronic lung issues, out of state trips require far more preparation. Seems like days are shorter than when I was younger. Though I was far less than healthy back then, age has taken its toll since those days crisscrossing the country.

As Thanksgiving approached, other concerns began striving for importance. My good friend and mentor, Federal Legal Patient, George McMahon was in hospice. The thought of his passing without me seeing him one last time seemed more than I could bear. So many dear friends have passed. All too many, like George, living pieces of history that so many will never get to know.

Federal Cannabis Patient, George McMahon

I committed myself to somehow find a way to augment my holiday plans to include a trip into rural Iowa to see him and his dear wife Margaret. His daughter, Linda was there as well. She had flown there to help care for her parents during this time of need.

On November 18th, after visiting with my friends, Phyllis and Jack Quinn for a couple days in Thornton, I Ubered to the Denver Airport and flew to St. Louis.

I then boarded a small plane and flew into Fort Dodge, Iowa, a little less than 30 miles from George’s very rural home in Livermore.

Federal IND Cannabis Patient, George McMahon
Margaret and Linda honored me by providing a comfortable chair beside George’s hospital bed that had been setup in their living room. For the better part of two days, George and I exchanged stories…laughing, cussing, crying. Often touching on the many things that transpired behind the scenes…the tales most will never hear but were a part of what created the Cannabis world of today.
George drifted in and out of lucidity, all the more as the second day drew on. Leaving, I couldn’t help but think so much still needed to be said. What bits of wisdom still needed to be recorded by my cameras? We’ll never know.
Tigger and I returned to Fort Dodge, boarded another puddle-jumper and flew back to St. Louis. The next day, George’s discomfort became too much and they transported him to the local hospital. The following day he passed.

A few weeks before leaving for the holiday, I petitioned the (Colorado) Jefferson County Court to end my Probation, now halfway completed. During my first week in Missouri, I received word that the courts had accepted my plea. I was now free to travel unencumbered.
My good friend, Ron Niehouse, who had received an identical sentence, had been freed of probation two weeks earlier and was on his way to a new life in the jungles of Hawaii’s big island.
After over two years, 14 hearings and a multitude of both horrors and blessings, that fabled “Road” was beginning to take a turn.

Returning to Missouri
I had known for some time that I would be returning to Missouri more permanently in the near future. But during this stay, it became quite obvious that my children were in stress. During my month there, both of my grown children spent time in the hospital. Yet another reminder that the environmental exposures that crippled my life also had a lasting effect on them as well. I didn’t know how much value I could be to them, but, all I knew was, I needed them… I needed to be near them.
Shortly after my return to Colorado, I began preparing for my exodus.

As if all these things were not difficult enough, shortly after my holiday landing in Missouri, sewage backed into my basement apartment. Without me there, I was helpless to aid in the cleanup. My upstairs roommate was unable to do much with her immune system compromised. Carpet would have to be pulled up and industrial cleaning performed – all with me states away from my things.

Fortunately for me, weeks before I left on my Thanksgiving trek, I experienced an overwhelming angst that my things were not safe. So I packed and moved most of them to my nearby storage unit.
Still, upon my return to my home in the Springs, the calm, orderly transition I would have envisioned quickly faded amid a haze of trips, packing totes and boxes to my storage unit to stage the remainder. I have no clue where I got the strength. All I knew was, change was finally coming and I didn’t want to miss this opportunity.
Assembling everything for moving day made me painfully aware of my physical limitations. There was no way that I would be able to load a truck with all my things and drive it back to Missouri. The very thought filled me with apprehension. We all face that moment when we must realize our youth and its vigor are fleeting. I arranged for a trailer to be dropped at the storage facility and three strong young men to help me load it.

On January 14th, a frenzied packing commenced, (holding my own, I might add, along-side the three movers!). Following, I drove to Thornton to say goodbye to the Quinns and to leave my car at their home for pickup and transport. On the evening of the 16th, I arrived in Missouri.
It took a day for my car to arrive and three for the trailer carrying my things. Thanks to a recommendation from my good friend, Beto Moreno, my son and I had a tremendous, seasoned mover to assist us with the unload.

What has followed has been weeks of setting up shelves, as well as sorting and unloading boxes. Though I trashed my right knee and lower back, and healing has been slow, it’s been quite a remarkable transition. I must admit, I have slept more than I have in years.
I have had many meals with my daughter and her fiancée. Our talks have been awesome. I have had the opportunity to work two reptile shows with them. Their local business, STL Worm Factory, produces reptile food and markets it across the Midwest.

My son lives close by. Spending time with him has been a joy beyond words. We’re all drawing close to one another.  It’s been over 20 years since we were together as a family.

Some of my Cannabis children
Over the past few weeks, two of the families that I have worked with that have children suffering from pediatric cancer have visited St. Louis hospitals.

Gabriel of Joplin
Willie of Branson

Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital and St. Louis Children’s Hospital are two of the leading children’s hospitals in the country.  It is now safe to say that they both have witnessed the miraculous healing power of Cannabis.

I’m still not quite settled, and my stamina is still far from on par, but much looms on the horizon. This coming week, I will be visiting the MOCANNBIZCON Expo, (March 2nd and 3rd) here in St. Louis with my good friends at Grassland Consulting. I will be their guest.

On March 22nd, 23rd and 24th, I plan to be in Oklahoma City for the Oklahoma Cannabis Expo. I hope to see many dear friends and patients there.

I was invited to participate in a Cannabis Therapeutics conference May 28th through 30th in Washington D.C., with a possible Capital rally and concert earlier in the week. This is an important event since its emphasis will largely be regarding REAL legalization and its impact on our medical community and our nation.
Unfortunately, that is the weekend of my son’s wedding. So I will be returning to STL late on the 29th. I’ll have more on this one soon.

I have been asked if I will be devoting time to Cannabis reform with the same fervor as before I left Missouri 7 years ago. To them I have said quite unequivocally, NO. Or should I say, my time will be devoted far more selectively. Family will be first. I hope to be doing far more writing. I have a number of writing and video projects waiting quite impatiently for me.

My views on Cannabis reform haven’t changed. I will still do my best to be available to those in need. I will meet with individuals and groups to discuss how we can foresee a future where REAL legalization can truly change our world. In the months to come, I expect my travels to take me all over the Midwest and the nation. I’m not a dry well…not quite yet.

Cannabis is nontoxic. Cannabis is food. Cannabis is the single most important medicine of the 21st century.

Related Posts

Skin Cancer and Cannabis a Patient’s Story

My Interview with Jack Quinn By Mark D. PedersenIn 2013, my former business partner, Regina Nelson and I had CPN Institute, an educational org. Our most benevolent Colorado sponsor was RiverRock Wellness of Denver. It was through their sponsorship that we were able...

The Way Back From Pharma

My interview with Joseph Blundell of Cliff Village, Missouri By Mark D. PedersenI first interviewed Joe at the Norml Drug Reform Conference on the University of Missouri Campus in Columbia, Missouri.  Joe drew National attention when he helped pass a medical...

James Hammond of Missouri: Multiple Sclerosis

I first met Jim in 2007 following a meeting of Greater St. Louis Norml.  He would faithfully attend the monthly meetings whenever he could catch a ride.  Jim had a fold-able wheelchair for trips like this where there would be someone to help him or when...

Changing How Our World Sees Cannabis

It became obvious to us all early on that REAL Cannabis reform would only come through sound education. It was not enough to just preach to the choir. The other 75% of the country needed to learn the truth. This meant stepping beyond ourselves.

Hearts of Humanity

With all the intellect that has walked this rock, none has learned that law does not shape the hearts of humanity.Cages and every form of punishment cannot drive out the evil that festers in the minds of the troubled. In our fear and our disdain, we trade liberty...

Cannabis and Law Enforcement

I've asked it before. What do you feel when you see the lights of a police cruiser in your rearview mirror? Does your pulse quicken? Does your chest tighten? Do you suddenly hit the brakes? Well, it would be one thing if you were speeding or doing something...

Making My Way Back

...time is also what Cannabis has given me. It's gotten me to here. So far, over twenty years...that in itself is awesome.

Invisible People

Empathy moves us to take pity on those less fortunate, but to actually feel what those afflicted feel... well, that's a different thing.

In Cannabis, Don’t accept Anything at Face Value

Prohibitionist law enforcement used ads like this to make home production of Cannabis oil, in all of its many forms, illegal in Colorado, but it had very little to do with safety, and everything to do with crippling caregiving across the state.

a hopeful time

A lot has happened since that magazine cover. History, apparently, has not played out exactly as we planned. It appears that the vernacular raced ahead of the law. Words like “legal”, have been stretched - practically to the point of breaking - as activists, “entrepreneurs” and profiteers raced to cash …