Dear Congressman Andy Harris,
After you and your staff rudely slammed your office doors on DC Marijuana Justice (“DCMJ”), Maryland Marijuana Justice (“MDMJ”) and myself, I believed that I should write a letter of apology to you and some of those affected by our recent visit to your congressional office in Washington, DC. on October 2, 2018.
I’m sorry to hear you might have hurt your wrist slamming the door on me. I’m a 46-years-old, 90 lb, handicapped, Christian, single mother that has a lifelong reputation for being a non-violent, peaceful advocate. For you to think I’m a threat to you or your office is inconceivable and ironic. It was never my intention to make you feel intimidated.
I’m sorry that formal requests, to schedule an appointment with your office have been denied for years. You told me at the town hall meeting in Salisbury, MD on August 10th that you would talk to me “offline.” I believed you, and I’m sorry I did. I thought you’d want me to enter your office and have an honest discussion. At no time did I imagine that I wouldn’t be welcome in a congressional office and now, thanks to you, I cannot visit offices unless I get an appointment. I now know it’s impossible.
I’m sorry for your soul Congressman, I pray for it daily. You fail to have the decency and ability to listen to those whose lives you affect with your staunch opposition to cannabis. Your continued prohibitionist position on common-sense drug reform hurts the poor, sick, elderly, abused, students, and our valiant veterans in states where cannabis is already legal, Have you forgotten the Hippocratic Oath? You can improve the lives of medical patients immediately if you’d only evolve on this issue.
I’m sorry that you receive money from “Big Pharma,” As a doctor, you refuse to look at the overwhelming evidence that cannabis is a healing plant. You pretend to play both sides by expressing feigned interest in research to delay legalization when research already exists. You should listen to the people, like myself, that the plant has helped. The plant is not dangerous, rather it’s the antiquated laws you continue to support that makes it dangerous.
I’m sorry for my friends at DCMJ and MDMJ because you called us “violent protesters” on your congressional website. I know none of us ever are violent. The only violence endured came from you and your staff in the form a slammed door without any explanation.
I’m sorry that so many of our friends have died in the opiate crisis waiting for cannabis to become legal and accepted by doctors like yourself. I’m sorry that you won’t help disadvantaged communities by ending the racist war on drugs. I’m sorry my friends have gone to jail for a plant. The courts are still overflowing with cases of simple marijuana possession and consumption.
I’m sorry for the women of the United States. In this moment of #MeToo and after Dr. Ford’s recent testimony, that a member of Congress assumes that an assertive woman is the same as being physically aggressive or violent. It’s true, I’m a confident and assertive woman and I won’t apologize for that. I’m sorry you fear me so very much you resorted to calling the U.S. Capitol Police.
I’m sorry that, like many women after being assaulted by a man, you attempted to put all of the blame on me and not hold yourself accountable for your actions. To defame my friends and me is typical of the toxic masculinity that you and many members of Congress exude. However, don’t forget I still have two years to file an assault claim against you. It might take me that long to decide if I should put myself through that process, again. Hopefully, by then the Equal Rights Amendment will be ratified by the final state needed for the full passage and I will be equally protected under the law.
You should apologize, Congressman. Not just for slamming the doors on us but for all of the pain and suffering at your hands. Are you sorry for your part in the opiate epidemic caused by your hostility toward cannabis reform that could otherwise save lives? I doubt that.
Finally, I’m sorry you may not want to hear from the people like myself but you will on election day. I’m not the only strong-minded woman in the cannabis community. and we will not be silenced.
Ms. Donlan can be reached at Rachel@DCMJ.org or on Twitter @RachelRamone