October 04, 2011

NORML Life Featured Activist Tonya Davis

Cannabis Activist Tonya Davis
Tonya Davis, a featured activist in the documentary NORML Life has many reasons to use Medical Marijuana. Ailed with a rare genetic disease, Pseudohypoparathyroidism, causing nutrients necessary to basic bodily functions to pass through her body unrecognized and therefore, unused. Her Brain is covered in massive calcium deposits. Inflammatory Bowel Disease, similar to Chron's Disease has left adhesions throughout her digestive system, scarred from years of inflammation. Add crippling arthritis, a diseased esophagus and permanent spinal damage to the list of ailments and no one can argue Tonya Davis fits into any State's Medical Marijuana Patient program. Currently, Tonya lives in Ohio where the use of Medical Marijuana is illegal.

An avid cannabis user, Tonya believes her quality of life has improved due to prolonged use of marijuana and the medicinal qualities of the plant are powerful enough to preserve the parts of her brain not inundated with calcium deposits. Before Cannabis, Tonya went through many pharmaceutical treatments, including morphine patches and oxycotin, both leaving her more violently ill than the original  problems themselves. These are a few of the many reasons Tonya fights for patient rights in a State where she is considered a criminal for the very use of the plant in any form.

What does a Cannabis patient do in a State where the penalties for marijuana are severe, risking home invasion style arrests and imprisonment followed by debilitating fines? Lobbying isn't enough. In this environment, an activist has to bring people out of the comfortable confinement of secrecy and band together to affect change in the law. Tonya Davis joined an organization versatile enough to take on all aspects of marijuana prohibition while keeping the focus on compassionate care for the people in obvious need of cannabis medicines. The task requires connecting patients with attorneys, getting politicians to acknowledge people otherwise lost in a failed medical system and inspiring individuals to be more compassionate. The Ohio Patient Network and The Ohio Patient Action Network were established to serve patients in Ohio and continues to change legislation and educate the public today. Tonya currently serves on its Board of Directors as President.

Attorney General Mike DeWine
The battle is not easy anywhere in the war on drugs and Tonya's networks experience obstacles every step of the way.  Recently the Ohio Medical Cannabis Act was rejected by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine for writing technicalities represented in the Ohio Alternative Treatment Amendment. In early September the Ohio Medical Cannabis Act of 2012 was submitted with 2365 signatures to the attorney general as a continued effort to pass Ohio House Bill 214 introduced 4 years ago which would allow for patient safe access to medical cannabis. The Bill is currently stalled in the Health Committee and volunteers are busily preparing to file the next initiative with more than 2,000 signatures collected.

Tonya uses various media and participates in several organizations working to end cannabis prohibition including NORML, the National Organization for the Reformation of Marijuana Laws to reach as many people as possible with her message. Since 2006, Tonya's YouTube Channel tonya420 has housed a collection of videos Tonya created over the years as a Medical Cannabis activist. In the videos, she describes living in constant fear of being prosecuted by police and educates the viewer about protecting their rights, using Cannabis as a medicine and more. At one time, Tonya was a co-host on Medical Marijuana Common Sense, a public access TV show with Nikki. Together, the two explored truth in medical marijuana from the woman's perspective. Archives of the show can be found on YouTube.

In addition to all of her production work, Tonya is the Medical Marijuana Director with Ohio NORML, President of Miami Valley NORML,  State Director for Ohio with American Alliance for Medical Cannabis and a member of the NORML Women's Alliance. Her efforts do not go unnoticed. Tonya is asked to speak all over the country and has won activists awards for her extensive work in the movement. In 2009 Tonya was the proud recipient of NORML's Pauline Sabin Award. Pauline Sabin was a lead woman in the movement to end the prohibition of alcohol, establishing the Women's Organization for National Prohibition Reform in 1929. 

Through the years, Tonya's message has reached mass audiences. Many lives have been changed as a result of her example of strength and courage, her refusal to give up until patients are guaranteed safe access to much needed Cannabis medicines. Her philosophy is simple: She doesn't have to change everyone's mind all at once. She focuses on changing one mind at a time and inspires others to do the same. Learn more about Tonya Davis in the documentary NORML Life, recently released on DVD by Cinema Libre Studios.

Order your copy of NORML Life on DVD today. Use the promotional code HEARTBRAIN when ordering online through Cinema Libre Studio or email StephanieBishop420@gmail.com for more information on public or educational screenings and wholesale distribution.

Words from others about working with Medical Marijuana activist, Tonya Davis: 
"She gave me the courage to come out and be honest with EVERYONE in my life about my use of MMJ for my pain and anxiety. Tonya Davis has helped to change public perception about MMJ for us all and I loudly applaud her for her efforts, especially knowing that she is in declining health. God bless this wonderful lady for her efforts to help many." Rhia R. Ferner Drouillard

"Tonya Davis works to change cannabis laws in Ohio. For the first years of my activism, I only knew of her from her posts to the email list I belong to through NORML. From those posts, I was inspired to keep going at times when I was ready to give up. She just never stops in spite of her continuing health issues. She pushes the envelope every single day to support this cause in Ohio. She is a proud medical cannabis patient in a state that offers her no protection. She is fearless, and I feel fortunate to have had the honor of meeting her in person at the national NORML Conference in Portland in 2010. I am proud to be in her company as a fellow Pauline Sabin Award winner." Oregon Cannabis Activist Anna Diaz