Pubdate: Thu, 25 Oct 2007
Source: Missoula Independent (MT)
Copyright: 2007 Missoula Independent
Author: Jessie McQuillan
Referenced: The Billings Gazette OPED


Robin Prosser didn't look or sound much like a fighter, but she was. 
A mother and a musician, the Missoula woman also acted as Montana's 
most outspoken advocate for medical marijuana, the only remedy that 
could ease the ravaging pain of the lupus-like immunosuppressive 
disease she endured for 23 years. Prosser's fight ended Oct. 18 when 
she took her own life.

In recent months, Prosser, 50, would sit at the kitchen table in her 
small apartment, pain welling up in her eyes, and talk quietly about 
the victories and defeats the last several years had delivered. 
Allergic to nearly every pharmaceutical that could render her chronic 
pain bearable, she had learned that the political fate of medical 
marijuana also carried intensely personal implications.

She remained proud of the 60-day hunger strike she undertook in 2002 
to draw attention to the need for medical marijuana, the effort that 
first brought her into the public eye. She spoke, too, of her 2004 
agreement with the city of Missoula--when police charged her with 
marijuana possession following a thwarted suicide attempt--that 
deferred prosecution and al lowed her to use marijuana before medical 
use was legalized.

During the subsequent campaign for medical marijuana, which won 
support from 62 percent of Montana voters, she became a literal 
poster child for the effort, appearing in campaign ads. And when the 
state issued her a medical marijuana ID card, things seemed to be looking up.

Then in March, federal Drug Enforcement Agency agents seized a small 
shipment of medical marijuana in transit from Prosser's 
state-approved caregiver. Though she was never criminally charged, 
Prosser was crushed. She said caregivers became afraid to supply her 
with the medicine she needed so badly.

In July, she penned an op-ed piece in the Billings Gazette, pleading 
with Montana's politicians and her fellow citizens to speak out 
against the DEA's actions and improve the lives of people like her.

"Give me liberty or give me death," she wrote. "Maybe the next 
campaign ought to be for assisted-suicide laws in our state. If they 
will not allow me to live in peace, and a little less pain, would 
they help me to die, humanely?" 
- ---
MAP posted-by: Richard Lake