West Hartford resident Tracy Fanning needs marijuana to get out of bed in the morning.
Indeed, the mother of two and traumatic brain injury activist was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer in September 2006. She was told by doctors at Sloan Kettering that she had three to five years to live.
Fanning initially used a battery of pills to manage the pain from treatment as well as to help her to perform the most basic functions.
But it wasn't until she started using marijuana for medicinal purposes in 2008 that she could get out of bed, do the laundry, take care of her children and even start organizations on behalf of those afflicted with traumatic brain injuries and tumors.
And she must buy her medicine illegally. The state in 2012 passed a law approving the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. The state Department of Consumer Protection recently adopted 76 pages of regulations concerning the operation of marijuana manufacturing and dispensary facilities.
At a public hearing on Tuesday, the Town Council considered an ordinance that would put a 9-month moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries and manufacturers from locating within the town.
It is a moratorium that Fanning vehemently and impassionately opposed.
"For the last five years, I've had to buy my medicine on the streets," Fanning said. "I'm not a criminal. I graduated from Clark University. ... I have to buy black market marijuana."
At one point, Fanning, who didn't take her medicine before the meeting, began to shake. She was steadied by her husband and continued.
With marijuana, "I can make dinner. That's what this is about. ... My kids have seen me dying. Now they see me living," Fanning said.
She also dispelled the stereotype of marijuana users.
"We're not doing bong hits; we're not eating Cool Ranch Doritos; we're not watching Cheech and Chong movies," she said.
Despite Fanning's pleas, the resolution passed by a vote of 9-0. Mayor Scott Slifka was not in attendance, but alternate Bernard Kavaler sat in to vote.
Several town councilors noted Fanning's testimony and courage but decided that the moratorium struck an appropriate balance for the community.