Medical marijuana advocate kills herself thanks DEA
It one year ago on October 18, 2008 Robin Prosser took her own life thanks to the DEA. Registered patient Robin Prosser’s confidence in Montana’s medical marijuana law was crushed March 30, 2007 when federal agents seized her state-approved medicine.
Medical marijuana advocate kills herselfRobin Prosser, a Missoula woman who struggled for a quarter century to live with the pain of an immunosuppressive disorder, tried years ago to kill herself. Last week, she tried again. This time, she succeeded.
By MICHAEL MOORE of the Missoulian
After her earlier attempt failed, Prosser wound up in even more trouble after investigating police found marijuana in her home. She used the marijuana to help cope with pain.
That marijuana charge was eventually dropped in an agreement with the city of Missoula, and Prosser had reason to rejoice in 2004 when Montanans passed a law allowing medical use of the drug. She was a high-profile campaigner for the Montana Medical Marijuana Act, and like others, she was dismayed when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that drug agents could still arrest sick people using marijuana, even in states that legalized its use.
The ruling came to haunt Prosser in late March, when DEA agents seized less than a half ounce of marijuana sent to her by her registered caregiver in Flathead County.
At the time, the DEA special agent in charge of the Rocky Mountain Field Division said federal agents were “protecting people from their own state laws” by seizing such shipments.
“I feel immensely let down,” Prosser would write a few months later, in a guest opinion for the Billings Gazette published July 28. “I have no safety, no protection, no help just to survive in a little less pain. I can't even get a job due to my medical marijuana use - can't pass a drug test.”
Federal prosecutors declined to charge Prosser, but fear spread through the system of marijuana distribution set up in the wake of the medical marijuana act. Friends said Prosser turned to other sources for marijuana, but found problems nearly everywhere she turned.
“Most recently, she had found some people who said they could get her what she needed, but it didn't go well,” said her friend Jane Byard.
Without the relief that marijuana delivered to her, Robin Prosser killed herself at home last week. She was 50.
Prosser suffered from an autoimmune disease that gave her allergic and dangerous reactions to most pharmaceutical painkillers. So she turned to marijuana. When that was no longer available she had no where else to turn.
“She just said she couldn't take it all anymore."
For over 20 years, Robin Prosser, a musician and mother from Missoula, Montana, had suffered from an immunosuppressive illness similar to lupus. Her muscles stiffened, impeding her ability to move, and she suffered from chronic pain, heart trouble, nausea, and migraines. She was allergic to many prescription drugs, and others simply didn't work.
Beginning in April 2002, at age 45, Prosser staged a 60-day hunger strike to draw attention to her plight. She sought assurance from local law enforcement authorities that she could grow her own marijuana - so as to maintain a steady supply of medicine - without fear of arrest or prosecution. However, Missoula Police Chief Bob Weaver maintained that Prosser would "be busted if she grows pot and we learn about it."
In May 2004, Prosser had run out of marijuana. She e-mailed her psychologist that she planned to commit suicide because she could no longer stand to live in pain. When police arrived at her house, they found her nearly unconscious in bed after taking prescription sleeping pills that she ordered over the Internet. They also found a small quantity of marijuana and two pipes. Prosser was charged with possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia, charges that could have brought up to a year in prison.
Missoula Police Captain Marty Ludemann explained that "the reason we charged her is Montana does not allow the medical use of marijuana." He added that "if it happened tomorrow under the same circumstances, we would arrest her again."
In September 2004, Prosser's charges were dismissed as long as she remained "law-abiding" for nine months; the plea agreement was unclear if this meant she was allowed to use marijuana.
It seemed as though Prosser's trouble had ended when Montanans passed a medical marijuana initiative by an overwhelming 63% to 37% margin that November.
However, in the spring of 2007, federal law enforcement officers intercepted the medicine her licensed caregiver had sent her in the mail. Following the incident, Prosser had great difficulty acquiring the type and quality of medical marijuana she needed to alleviate her symptoms.
According to Prosser and those close to her, she experienced excruciating pain in the following months until on Oct. 18, 2007, she took her own life.
link to video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=acecqaVPLYY
This link is to the letter Robin wrote her daughter: http://tinyurl.com/2x282e