N.C. men fighting for patients’ rights to medical marijuana

By William R. Toler

Two men. Two cases. One plant. One cause.

Although separated by 140 miles, Todd Stimson and Robert Dorr are fighting the same fight in the courts: the right of all people to use cannabis as a medical alternative to pharmaceuticals.

Todd Stimson and Robert Dorr pose together after Dorr's court appearance April 28. (Contributed photo)

Todd Stimson and Robert Dorr pose together after Dorr’s court appearance April 28. (Contributed photo)

Stimon’s home was raided in mid-July 2013 for growing cannabis. Dorr, who attended a rally in support of Stimson the following August, actually called deputies to let them know that he was growing cannabis for his own medicinal use and was arrested in December.

“I chose to fight because I had no options besides attacking them so I could get a trial and then be able to grow without fear of my house being tore up in a raid,” said Dorr. “It was my fastest way to safety.”

Dorr, a veteran, said he decided to fight in the courts rather than waiting on the legislative process. “When I learned all the science it became a civic obligation to stand for others as well, so I went very public,” he said. “Preventable, quantifiable death and suffering at the hands of the state should never be tolerated.”

Stimson had been charged in 2004 and took a plea to drop the charges against the mother of his children and to keep the state from taking the children away. “True terrorism,” he says of those that threatened to tear apart his family.

In 2011, he began taking steps to “be as legal as possible.” He obtained an Art of Healing license and began purchasing marijuana tax stamps from the State of North Carolina. “Three different times our government has failed to help us,” he said. “That is strike three for them in my book.”

Shortly after his recent court battle began, the Stimson family suffered another blow. His youngest daughter Ariel was diagnosed with  cancer. “To learn your 14-year-old child has cancer is nothing I would want anyone to go through,” he said. “Even my worst enemies.”

Stimson says the family had asked that Ariel be allowed to use an alternative program containing cannabinoids to go along with traditional treatment. “We were denied it and I told the doctor to grow some balls and fill out the paperwork to get her in it,” he said. “That got CPS called on us.”

Ariel also had a severe reaction to one of the medications she was prescribed, one that the family did not want her on. It caused her to turn flush and made breathing extremely difficult. She was later prescribed Dronabinol, a synthetic cannabinoid that has a significantly lower chance of adverse reactions than what she was on before.

Dorr considers Stimson and activist Jean Marlowe as “trailblazers who spread the call of battle for years.”

In addition to supporting each other, both men have gotten support from the community. Members of the Libertarian Party of Henderson County as well as the Blue Ridge Liberty Project have participated in several rallies for Stimson. Dorr has garnered the backing of fellow veterans.

Neither of them have been offered a plea deal, nor would they accept one.  Both men are hoping for jury nullification. “They knew through an earlier lawyer that my intention was to put the law on trial and I had no interest in anything short of a jury trial,” said Dorr.

Dorr said he still medicates daily with strains he obtained in Colorado. He also plans to attend an upcoming conference in Oregon. “I hope to be able to talk with doctors and scientists there to see if we share some of the same conclusions and to lean more and bring the info back to N.C.”

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One Response to N.C. men fighting for patients’ rights to medical marijuana

  1. It’s great to know that a lot of people are making their voices heard and fighting for what is right. These are the people I admire the most. Let’s all go for marijuana legalization.

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