Longtime medical marijuana advocate dies at 86

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Longtime medical marijuana advocate dies at 86

Postby palmspringsbum » Mon Jan 07, 2008 4:42 pm

The Midland Daily News wrote:Longtime medical marijuana advocate dies at 86

The Midland Daily News
By Tony Lascari

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.

Mae was predeceased by her husband of 46 years, Arnold Nutt, along with two sons, Keith and Dana. She is survived by her daughter Joyce Born, of Westland; her son Marc Nutt and his spouse of Antelope, Calif.; grandchildren Amy and David Born and their spouses; and five great-grandchildren.
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Woman who fought to legalize medical marijuana dies

Postby palmspringsbum » Wed Jan 09, 2008 1:43 pm

The Bay City Times wrote:Woman who fought to legalize medical marijuana dies

The Bay City Times
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
By Tom Gilchrist
tgilchrist@bc-times.com | 894-9469

BEAVERTON - Long before Mae Nutt was ''Grandma Marijuana,'' Mary Offenbecker simply knew her as a loving mother.

Nutt, 86, a former Gladwin County resident who gained fame fighting to legalize marijuana for medical use, died Jan. 1 in California.

Offenbecker, who lived near Nutt for years in Gladwin County's Billings Township, knew Mae Nutt as ''Babe,'' and said Nutt lost two sons to cancer.

Nutt became known by the national media as ''Grandma Marijuana'' while trumpeting how the illegal drug helped her son, Keith, who died at age 23 in 1979.

''That marijuana was the only thing keeping Keith from (vomiting). It was pretty sad,'' said Offenbecker, 79, of Billings Township, where a memorial service for Nutt will occur June 28 in the township cemetery.

''Babe was a very good mother,'' Offenbecker said. ''She believed in marijuana for medical use, and we all did after we saw how it helped Keith.

''Babe and I didn't live that far apart and I wasn't the only one who saw how the drug helped Keith. The other neighbors saw it, too.''

Mae Nutt moved from Michigan to California several years ago. Offenbecker doesn't recall Mae Nutt smoking marijuana, but said Gladwin County locals made sure the Nutt family had a supply of the drug as Keith Nutt battled cancer.

''I could tell you where she got some of it, but I don't think you want to know, so we'll just leave it at that,'' Offenbecker said.

Mae Nutt testified in Washington, D.C., before the National Drug Enforcement Administration in 1988. Two years later, she won The Robert Randall Award for Citizen's Action from the Drug Policy Foundation, which is dedicated to liberalizing drug policies in the U.S.

Newspapers and magazines wrote about Mae Nutt's crusade to legalize medical marijuana use. In 1991, reporters featured Nutt and Beaverton resident Bill Sebastian on the CBS Evening News.

''They took a few pictures and had me roll one and smoke it on camera,'' said Sebastian, now 76, who still lives in Beaverton.

Sebastian said he no longer smokes marijuana, but said he did so at the time to relieve pain and pressure from glaucoma.

Sebastian, who is blind, lost one eye as a U.S. Army soldier in the Korean War, when a hand grenade exploded near him while he lay on the ground, already bleeding from a bullet wound in each of his legs.

After glaucoma struck, doctors removed his remaining eye.

''Sometimes I think about getting some marijuana and trying it again - I have such pain in my legs and hips any more,'' Sebastian said.

Sebastian said national publicity about his use of marijuana as a pain-killer caused a few members of his Beaverton church to criticize him for using pot.

''They thought there should be an alternative besides marijuana, but they don't know the situation,'' Sebastian said. ''If it had been them, it would be different.''

Sebastian said Mae Nutt, however, told him ''There's no proof of anybody ever dying from smoking marijuana.''

Mary Offenbecker said she once served on the Billings Township Board of Trustees with Nutt's late husband, Arnold Nutt, elected by voters as the township supervisor.

''Nobody out here shunned Babe or Arnold - they were good people,'' Offenbecker said.

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