Medical marijuana advocate continues his fight after 2 years in prison
Todd Stimson got out of prison in late April, after spending two years and one month at Foothills Correctional Institute in Morganton.
Less than two months later, the medical marijuana advocate is back in the fight. But this time, he's obeying the law, and not taking any chances with a grow operation that earned him jail time.
"I can't take the chance of taking another charge and being put into the situation I was in," Stimson said, "which actually affected my family a lot, too. The family hardship that's brought on is just as bad as the harm on the individual in prison. Family is hurt just as much--economically and emotionally."
Stimson's family has been through a lot. His daughter Ariel was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2013 shortly after his grow operation was raided.
"She was 14 then. She's 18 now and a healthy child," Stimson said cautiously. "They say you've got to give it 5 years as far as remission for cancer. But she's a healthy productive child except for the period where I was gone. That was hard on her, for a child to lose her father."
Stimson has seen the rise in opioid overdoses and the spread of states legalizing medical marijuana from behind bars. Both have convinced him that his fight is just as important now as it was before he was sentenced.
"My time in prison changed me as far as seeing the 'evil' part of the law that I never saw before," Stimson said. "It gave me more strive, more passion to actually make a change, to keep people from going through what I went through."
He knows the road would be easier to hoe in a state where medical marijuana is already legal, but he wants the laws changed here for the people who need it.
"I want to show the state I can stay here. I haven't smoked cannabis in two years. I can go without cannabis, but there's people out there that need it," Stimson said.
Stimson co-wrote a resolution with his defense attorneys that will be presented at the next Asheville City Council meeting. It affirms the city's support for legalizing medical marijuana.
"It's not just a symbolic thing," Stimson said. "It's more of an inspiration to people across the state, because we've already sent this resolution off to other people in other areas of the state to get them to present to their local city councils or commissions. And when more people do that, and then get more people passing this resolution, that shows the citizens really want the change, and that the legislator needs to act to pass medical cannabis in North Carolina."
The resolution will be presented at the next city council meeting on June 27.