Forty-five years ago, a tenacious glaucoma patient named Robert Randall made history, becoming the first person in the United States to be barred from securing legal supplies of grown, processed and distributed cannabis by the federal government itself. .
Now, his widow and lifelong advocate for reform, Alice O’Leary Randall, marks the anniversary by publishing a digitized “factual record” of the incident, highlighting the marijuana pioneer’s legacy and the nation’s It preserves the work and sacrifices of early activists who helped build it. Foundation for the low-key cannabis legalization movement.
Randall had already accomplished something amazing just two years before the settlement. After being indicted for illegal possession of cannabis, he faced a lawsuit and convinced a superior court judge that marijuana use constituted “medical necessity.”
Randall, who was 28 at the time, claimed that cannabis offered a potential cure for glaucoma that could preserve his vision that no other federally-approved drug could. The judge agreed that the circumstances met the criteria of legal necessity.
A landmark 1976 ruling by the Superior Court of the District of Columbia gave defenders one of the first and most meaningful victories in the history of the federal drug war, recognizing the therapeutic benefits of cannabis and It paved the way for future reforms that recognized its importance. To protect the civil liberties of the patient who asked for it.
But Randall didn’t stop there. Backed by the law of necessity, he petitioned the federal government for legal access to a Schedule I plant, and won that right as well. Governments are now legally obligated to provide medical marijuana to patients. It has hundreds of joints rolled into a standardized unit and shipped in a large tin.
He later joined other patients brought into the FDA’s Compassionate Investigational New Drug (IND) program. But the work didn’t stop there.
It may be worth noting that federal officials agreed to supply cannabis to patients, justified as a research program that has since been discontinued, but Randall said he wanted cannabis as an alternative treatment option. We are committed to making holistic change for every patient who is affected.
Unsurprisingly, his work did not find any support from the federal government. At one point, he welcomed interviews with enthusiastic international media, and President Jimmy Carter said he warned Randall in 1977: Consider tightening your supplies. “
The federal government was a salty dealer, but Randall ignored the message and kept pushing.
Today, Pacific College of Health and Science Professor Alice O’Leary Randall doesn’t want that legacy to fade away. Not only because it represents a fascinating chapter in the decades-long crusade, but because it echoes the old adage, “If you don’t know the past, you must repeat it.” .
“There are a lot of people who are a little cocky about the marijuana problem. They think it’s solved,” Randall told Marijuana Moment in a phone interview on Friday. There are still people who are denied medical access to cannabis.”
Another reason she decided to curate this online library is that “this issue not only contains my husband, but what I literally had the last good days of my life between 1976 and 1995.” Because there are so many people I could name 10 patients, people understand that this drug should be available legally through a prescription, just like they can get it like any other drug. I will have you.”
“It’s really important to remember those people. A lot of big money is made on those people’s backs,” she said.
Asked what her husband thinks about the state of marijuana policy that has evolved 20 years after his death, Randall said he would be “ripped apart.”
On the one hand, “I’m thrilled that there are literally millions of people in this country who can get a certificate of medical necessity and go to a clinic. And the product selection is absolutely amazing.” is.”
On the other hand, “he would be very upset about adult usage.” It’s not that her Randall or her late husband were against adult legalization outside of a medical context, but she said it would be upset to see policies driven by profits rather than patient needs and consolidation of the medical and recreational markets. and consumers.
“In 1996, with the Prop 215 [in California]because I felt that the intentions of the people promoting it at the time were not as pure as Robert had hoped,’ she said. I was afraid it would lead to… So he would be ripped.I think he would be really ripped.”
Randall plans to digitize and annotate documents, including court records, media clips and letters, and publish them online over time. She also compiled what she described as complementary “monographs” that focused on specific topics such as “the early days of the medical cannabis movement.”
Finding the documents proved to be more difficult than she expected, but provided detailed accounts of events that might otherwise have been lost to history. provides key lessons in advocacy that Randall hopes the next generation of change leaders will study.
What is her advice to the next generation? “Look back, read history and find out how you got here and how you got the job,” she said with a laugh. As you know, even 20 years ago these jobs were hard to find. And be respectful to your ancestors. That’s exactly why I took on this project. And more will come. “
“It’s important to understand that those who fought for medical cannabis in the ’80s didn’t stop, even though they were against so many things,” Randall said. “They knew it was right. They always knew it was right. And that sense of justice really came through.”
Schumer says marijuana banking bill will go to Senate floor — with expungement and ‘social justice’ attached — at New York cannabis rally
Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.