"Medical Marijuana has been my saving grace."

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There are thousands of Montanans who are depending on I-182 to pass this November. Patients, suffering from cancer and other debilitating illnesses and Montanans that are sick and dying, deserve to live their lives with dignity and to choose the medicine that works for them. For many, medical marijuana is the only thing that allows some relief when no other medication has worked. When a patient chooses to share their story publicly, they allow us a glimpse into what their every day struggles are. The bravery and courage it takes to share their story cannot be measured and cannot be in vain.

It is up to each of us to make sure that their words do not stop at our ears. When we learn something, we must continue to spread the word and educate others. With that goal in mind, please read Angel Hoerner's story and share it in conversation, on social media, wherever and however you can.

My name is Angel Hoerner, and I am a medical marijuana patient living in Livingston, Montana. Not only do I have epilepsy and PTSD, but in 2008, I suffered a massive stroke during a surgery to remove a brain aneurysm.

The stroke left me paralyzed on my left side and forced me into an assisted living facility. I was bedridden, wearing diapers, and addicted to prescription narcotics. I contemplated suicide multiple times.

Medical marijuana has been my saving grace. Today, I am completely off of prescription opiates. I can dress myself and am living outside of a care facility for the first time in seven years. I am even pursuing my degree online, so I can one day reenter the workforce. I use medical marijuana to enable myself to be a functioning woman, student, daughter, mother, and now, a proud grandmother.

I implore each of you reading this to educate yourself about medical marijuana! and to vote YES on I-182 this November. As it stands, Montana patients like me are faced with all bad options: going back on addictive narcotics, moving out of the state, or resorting to the black market to obtain the only medicine that gives us relief. The new responsible and accountable medical marijuana law will ensure that we can maintain safe, legal access to our medicine in the state that we call home.

As citizens of this great state of ours, it is our duty to stand up for those Montanans who cannot always stand up for themselves. Please don’t take away our right to live a fully functioning life. Please realize that we are people just like you who received a diagnosis that changed everything. Please vote YES on I-182 this November.

Originally published in the MT Standard: http://mtstandard.com/news/opinion/letters/medical-marijuana-patient-urg...