Retired LEAP Speaker (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition) in Canada, USA and around the World.
LEAP – Alison Myrden
Retired Corrections Officer – Speaker for LEAP from March 2004 to June 2016.
During her career, Alison was responsible for various duties. Court, facility shifts and later court liaison for Cassatta Youth Custodial Facilities kept her steadily occupied. One of her most challenging assignments included a short stint working with Psychiatric Young Offenders at a Secure Custody Facility.
While working in the Youth Court Justice system, Alison noticed that many Young Offenders were in trouble with the law for simple experimentation with illicit drugs. This seemed very wrong to her. She felt it would be better to educate these young people about drugs instead of punishing them. It seemed to her, that our youth were being criminalized for no good reason.
Around the same time, Alison was diagnosed with chronic progressive Multiple Sclerosis. She began battling Tic Doloureux, an excruciating facial pain sometimes associated with MS. Soon after retiring in 1992, she was introduced to medicinal Cannabis. In 1994, Alison was prescribed Cannabis for pain relief after legal, doctor-supervised Cocaine and Heroin therapy was found insufficient to help. She found immediate relief with Cannabis when there was no such luck with the other, more addictive medications.
Within the year Alison had gained enough health to be back at work, sitting in courtrooms for three to five days a week while sporadically supporting herself on a walker or cane. Her health was starting to quickly change and Alison knew Cannabis was helping to improve her situation. Soon, poor health was no longer her main concern.
Back working in court, Alison again noticed that many poor, under-educated and vulnerable youth were being jailed for experimentation with drugs such as cannabis. The court’s message was at odds with her own experience as she knew that cannabis was not dangerous.
In 1994, Doctors realized how beneficial cannabis was to Alison’s medical regime that a Section 56 from the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act was applied for and gained. Alison was one of the first people in Canada to achieve this recognition and has been a vocal proponent for medical cannabis and global drug law reform ever since.
In March of 2000 Alison received one of the first Ministerial Exemptions to be able to smoke, possess and grow Marijuana, legally for medical purpose in Canada.
However, as her government paperwork did not (and could not) include directions to a pharmacy stocking Cannabis, Alison went to the media expressing her confusion and disappointment at being able to legally utilize her medicine but at the same time, being left without a legal and safe supply.
Alison has since maintained international exposure in the medical Cannabis, Drug Law Reform and Human Rights movements, through consistent media appearances in Canadian and other media from 1999 forward.
Alison and her partner Gary Lynch maintain a very active website detailing her advocacy work at www.alisonmyrden.com
As if this was not enough to keep Alison busy, in 2004 she decided to run for political office in Canada at the federal level for the riding of Oakville, Ontario as a member of the New Democratic Party and more than DOUBLED the Votes!
Alison feels that the “War on Drugs” is more of a “War on People” and HAS to be stopped.
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