Longtime medical marijuana advocate dies at 86
January 04, 2008
Tony Lascari, Midland Daily News (MI)
A longtime Beaverton resident who pushed for legalizing medical marijuana use has died.
Mae Nutt died Tuesday in Roseville, Calif., at age 86. She moved west in August 2005 to be closer to her son, Marc Nutt, after being diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.
Mae became an advocate for medical marijuana after seeing her son Keith Nutt struggle with the pain of cancer treatments in 1978, and made his use of marijuana for medical purposes a public cause.
"Once I decided to be open minded and listen, there is no way that you can deny that this works," Mae said in a July 2001 Daily News article. "States have rights. I don't think that the government should tell states what to do."
Marc said his mom spent more than 25 years fighting for patients.
"She was a very strong-willed person," he said. "She saw what she perceived as an injustice with medical marijuana. It was a drug that could help people and did help people."
It was exciting at times to have a mom who was a public advocate, being featured on national television news broadcasts, magazine articles and a documentary, Marc said.
"I was really proud of her and it was kind of exciting," he said. "She was very committed to fighting that fight. The first medical marijuana law in Michigan was passed (in 1979) due to my mom, my dad and my brother's efforts in speaking at the Senate committee hearings about medical marijuana. The law was passed and my brother died that night."
Her advocacy continued, and in 2002 Marc saw the impact his mom had on the movement when the two attended a national medical marijuana conference.
"They all regarded her with such esteem," he said of those in attendance.
In 2005 Mae moved to Antelope, Calif., near Marc. Her move brought her to a state that currently allows medical marijuana use with a doctor's prescription, but the state law is in opposition to federal laws banning marijuana use.
"The state government is still allowing people to have access to marijuana," Marc said, and there are groups set up to help patients.
He said there's a lot of energy at the state level for getting medical marijuana legalized but the federal government remains opposed to it.
"The only way we can get consistency is to have a good, strong medical marijuana law on the federal level," he said.
Mae died on New Year's Day and her family is planning a memorial at the Billings Township Cemetery on June 28, which would have been her 87th birthday.