Toms River, NJ: Medicinal marijuana activist and Multiple Sclerosis (MS) patient Cheryl Miller died on Saturday from pneumonia and other MS-related complications. She was 57 years old.
Miller, along with her husband Jim, was a tireless lobbyist in support of the legalization of marijuana for medical use. The issue was a personal one to Cheryl, who ate marijuana to alleviate symptoms of MS.
Even though the disease had left Cheryl severely disabled, the Millers made frequent trips to Washington DC to lobby on behalf of the "States Rights to Medical Marijuana Act." In 1998, Cheryl was arrested for using medicinal marijuana in front of the Congressional office of then-California Congressman James Rogan, who had supported the issue as a state politician, but later renounced it as a member a Congress.
Cheryl engaged in a similar act of civil disobedience in front of the office of former Georgia Congressman and strident drug warrior Bob Barr. In 2002, Miller was the focal point in a series of television ads attacking Barr for his anti-medicinal marijuana stance. Barr later lost his bid for reelection.
Most recently, Cheryl and Jim Miller were recipients of the Peter McWilliams Memorial Award for Outstanding Achievement in Advancing the Cause of Medical Marijuana at the 2003 National NORML Conference.
In a posting to the Cherylheart Project website, husband Jim wrote the following tribute to his wife and best friend: "Cheryl made her life an open book so others could have a better life. ... She was never afraid of the consequences of what we did to help fight medical marijuana prohibition. She was afraid of being able to help seriously ill people, and not doing so. She was a teacher, and I learned from her. I am learning still.
"We must not mourn her passing without celebrating her life. Cheryl gave us a lesson that is ours to use or ignore. Don't be afraid of doing what needs to be done. You should however, be afraid of being able to do something, and not taking a swing. For a person that could not move her arms for many years, Cheryl took some pretty big swings. I will not let the example she lived go unused. She will be with me always."
NORML expresses its sincere condolences to the friends and family of Cheryl Miller.