Edward Allen Smith (1961 – 2002), who had AIDS for 12 years and cancer for 10, said he would not be able to take his other medication without marijuana and that it was therefore essential to his very survival. He championed the cause of medical access to cannabis. Smith was a spokesperson of the group, For a Better Ohio, which had encouraged the state legislature to pass a law allowing Ohioans with illnesses to smoke marijuana to alleviate pain. He helped found the Ohio Patients Network. As he fought for his life, he fought for the rights of other Americans needlessly suffering. He fought injustice, ignorance,and intolerance. The day he died, Eddie learned that he had been made Freedom Fighter of the month in HT Dec.2002 issue. He did not live to see a copy of the article.
This photo by Gary Storck (IMMLY) shows Eddie at the October 2000 demonstration at Al Gore’s office in Austin TX organized by Jim Miller, taking a hit off the “torch of freedom” as NJ Weedman, Julian Heicklen and others look on. Here’s what happened that day:
“Eddie Smith, after describing his essential medical need for marijuana to control the nausea and vomiting caused by his AIDS medicine, said he wanted to show Mr. Gaston the use of medical marijuana and began to consume his medicine. Mr. Gaston said: “Don’t do that here.” Eddy replied: “If I can’t do it here, where can I do it?” As he smoked Mr. Gaston became very upset. He called me to his office to express his displeasure. Kevin Zeese explained this was a First Amendment activity targeted at the Vice President for his inaccurate statements. It was up to Mr. Gaston to decide whether to arrest an AIDS/cancer patient for his use of a medicine or to allow him to use marijuana. He said he was concerned about being part of a marijuana conspiracy or aiding and abetting a criminal act. I explained that he now had a sense of what medical marijuana patients have to feel every day when they fear arrest for using a medicine.
“We went back to the group and Mr. Gaston asked Eddie to stop his marijuana use. Eddie explained he would not stop until he was finished. Mr. Gaston said to me, “Can’t you do anything about this?” I said, it is not my decision; it is up to Eddie. Security arrived and Mr. Gaston looked unsure what to do and then decided to send security away. Eddie finished his medical use and as we left we explained to Mr. Gaston that the Gore campaign should be warned that other actions like this are likely because seriously ill people were very upset with his comments. Further, it was very likely that Mr. Gore will lose a lot of votes to Ralph Nader unless he corrects this misstatement.” — Kevin Zeese