Medical Marijuana Interview with Activist & Hero Rudy Reyes

Posted on: April 15, 2013

DFW NORML sat down with Rudy Reyes, the nationally recognized hero of the 2003 Cedar Fires turned medical marijuana activist while in Texas recently. Reyes spent much of the ’00s as a local politician and rabble-rouser, running for both San Diego County supervisor and city councilman of Santee, a San Diego suburb. His experiences as a trauma patient –– he suffered third degree burns while trying to rescue victims of the 2003 Cedar wildfires –– are what catapulted him into the role of citizen advocate for the healing powers of cannabis.

A lot of politicians look at medical marijuana patients and say, ‘You look fine to me,'” he told DFW Norml’s Pete Marrero. “They experience ‘visual discrimination,’ because their health problems are on the inside of their bodies. Well, you can look at me and tell exactly what’s wrong.”

When Reyes was first hospitalized with his burns, he suffered near-fatal side effects from the narcotic pain relief drugs doctors were using. He was eventually approved for a program of cannabis treatment by the University of Southern California at San Diego. The medical marijuana proved a smashing success, but Rudy’s decision to grow his own plants prompted federal DEA officials to raid both his home and the medical marijuana dispensers he worked with. Charges against him were dropped, but only after officials determined that prosecuting Reyes, a first responder severely injured in the line of duty, would create “a circus,” according to the San Diego County district attorney.

The whole mess prompted Reyes to become involved with California politics at the city and county levels. He urges all cannabis users to educate themselves on the democratic process because “there are certain rights that they can’t take away from us,” he said. Exercise your citizen rights and let your voices be heard on the side of reforming America’s marijuana laws.

Special thanks to Feed Your Head for inviting us to bring Rudy to speak at their drum circle and to Hempy’s Emporium for hosting our interview. Herb’s the word!