By S. Brook & C. Willis
“Ron Morris, an unassuming man, has made an ethical change in his life.”
What’s that old adage — all’s fair in love and war?
Former US Air Force Sergeant Ron Morris adamantly disagrees.
With America in chaos on behalf of a notably uncertain Vietnam War in 1969, Morris remained Stateside — presumably at an arm’s length from the blood, chemical warfare, and cerebral aftermath of the destruction abroad. Sadly, the missile techni-cian’s Tucson, Arizona, base would prove equally volatile.
Involved in a covert nuclear arms project, Morris underwent federally induced affliction. The technical sergeant’s exposure to noxious car-tridge gases, interchanging Agent Orange and napalm, was a bestial attack on internal and surface cellular tissues. Treated solely for the latter, Morris was persecuted by National Guard physicians and superiors. His resolve would be independent. Damaged physically and subjectively, his one diversion was illicit cannabis.
Back home in Ten Thousand Islands, Florida, in ’85, a then middle-aged Morris stumbled into more adversi-ty. While operating a large Cat in Everglades National Park, he over-turned the mighty earth-mover in evasion of a mangrove swamp fire. In addition to his own contusions and broken bones, he witnessed the grim death of a friend/coworker. His employer provided no compensation insurance.
Having developed synthetic drug allergies, a result of the ’69 military chemical overload, Morris was forced to medicate “herbally” — again, unlawfully.
While cruising the lustrous summer marshes in his riverboat in 2005, Morris made a healthful decision. As he drew deeply from his pipe, observing two airborne dolphins glistening momentarily in the sun, he commit-ted to an Oregon medical marijuana prospect. Plagued by his unsettling past, he intended to alleviate his bodily and neurological symptoms justifiably. He’d been gnawed up and spat out by defective systemic administration.
No one would direct the retired sergeant/laborer if he failed to guide himself.
The present day observes Morris living happily in Eagle Point, Oregon — and medicating constitu-tionally. Utilizing the contempo-rary aspects of medical cannabis, Morris supplements questionable health benefits, tangible ailment, and post-traumatic stress disorder via the once notorious seedling. Therapeutic grass now surpasses a mere Vietnam-era, LSD-congruent counterculture staple; it provides life-supporting balance for an undermined human being.
TREATING YOURSELF: You initially recognized cannabis as medicine upon your exposure to lethal mis-sile propellant while in the service. Why marijuana over “better established,” FDA-approved pre-scription remedies?
MORRIS: The first time I experienced cannabis, I obtained higher levels of physical and clairvoyant peace than with the pills the doctors had pre-scribed. The chemical exposure over-loaded my system, inducing allergies to conventional pharmaceutical sub-stances. There were certainly no med-ical marijuana liberties in Arizona or Florida at the time — and but scarcely now — so it wasn’t easy. But absolutely, I knew cannabis was for me from the onset.
Positioning yourself between the leak and a volatile aspirant, you safeguarded the entire base. Can you disclose details?
I was 110 feet below the ground surface in the inner tube of a Titan II missile — the last of the liquid-burning projectiles prior to solid-fuel Minuteman missiles.
I was simply doing routine maintenance when a leak developed between the gaskets, separating the nitric and trioxide gases. The combina-tion creates hydrazine. If an oxidizer comes in contact with hydrazine, it becomes a major explosive. As I stood in the corner deflecting the hissing gases from the elements, it burned quickly through my protective suit, instantly penetrating my flesh. I felt inconceivable pain everywhere — my skin, lungs, eyes, teeth, gums. An ER chopper saved my life.
Forced to use traditional drugs prior to my cannabis breakthrough, shortly thereafter I became allergic to chemi-cal medications.
The military doctors and offi-cers slighted you. Why couldn’t they see beyond the external damage?
They lacked competence, therefore denied what they failed to see. All they did is change skin grafts on my arm. The old ones sheared off like ropes! I lost respect for the Army divi-sion of the American Medical Association, and later all mainstream doctors.
I was left 100 percent undiagnosed by any medical professional for my post-exposure lung and abdominal prob-lems. The internal and cerebral burns/scars far exceeded the obvious, yet went undetected. I was reduced from sergeant to a laborer, then inferred a neurotic by the higher ranked. I don’t believe any of them were bright enough to take into account that the poison released in the Titan II silo went into my lungs and stomach, contaminating my system. It was a no-brainer!
I was destined for self-treatment. The medical world is a cash-cow fraud. Millions internationally suffer point-lessly. The AMA exploits the sick, rak-ing in billions annually, then criminal-izes a failsafe medicine like cannabis. Behold pending legalization.
You also sustained injuries and life-jarring desolation apart from the U. S. Army. What happened at the gator-infested waters near the Florida Gulf?
I was operating a large Cat, cutting a line in the old canal during a marsh fire. Still chemically sensitive via my crushing experience in the missile silo, I became disoriented, as I’d inhaled dense black diesel and wood smoke for several hours. In my incoherent state, I hit a bank wrong, rolling the gigantic machine. Stuck in the water for over an hour, the chill numbed my injuries. By the time I escaped, attempting to hot-foot it to the road, I realized my back and leg were hurt. The worst of it, nonetheless, was my pal and fellow employee Marco had died in the flames of another swamp fire accident, much like mine, earlier that day.
What physical pain does med-ical cannabis diminish currently?
I still experience back pain, the result of a cracked vertebra when I rolled the Cat in Florida. I also have sciatic nerve problems from my hips down my legs, arthritis, and fatigue. I still have lung and abdominal distur-bances from the chemical exposure. The green, earth-given treatment lends me a hand on every front — sans the hideous side effects of stan-dard pill-popping.
You lived with post-traumatic stress disorder for years before you realized you had it. How does medical cannabis aid in managing the innermost anxieties?
Though I never went to Vietnam, I’ve been living my own private war, post-service. Ironically, the liquid-fueled missiles were replaced by the solid firing material of the Minuteman version for the dangers of Titan II repair — yet I was basically left to suf-fer for that exact reason! I wasn’t even the assailant! That in itself is another trauma — the frustration. I was ridiculed by the servicemen. It, too, hurt me badly.
Front-line survivors of Vietnam and the Gulf War were also denied proper treatment for chemical/bacterial war-fare tainting, which provoked immune dysfunction, central nervous system damage, post-traumatic stress disor-der, and often death.
After the service, I became a recluse. I pulled the blinds down, didn’t watch TV. I hated crowds. I challenge any-one to face what I did and walk away.
The medical cannabis keeps me much more stable. It calms my anxieties and helps me focus. It allows me to relax and enjoy life’s perfections: mountains, horses, and oranges…