Ron is a drummer. He considers himself a “freelance musician,” and plays in at least a half-dozen bands around Flagstaff. After moving to Flagstaff to attend NAU on a full ride music scholarship, James has been a steady member of the music scene in our mountain town.
“[Playing the drums] is basically what I have been doing my whole life, and what I do for fun,” Ron says.
As he became more well known, James often began playing music at clubs and bars. It was fun, but Ron began drinking often and began to notice some of the physical effects of prolonged alcohol use.
“Playing in the club scene really lends itself to that,” Ron explains. “I had it under control for a long time, but it was catching up with me as I got older and with my body.”
Ron’s doctor recommended that he stop drinking. It was taking a toll on his liver. But Ron didn’t want to stop playing music. He also didn’t see himself as the type of person who would benefit from Alcoholics Anonymous.
Then, Ron got his medical marijuana card for some back pain — from years of being hunched over a drum-set — and it changed his life for the better.
Ron doesn’t think he could have stopped drinking without the benefits of medical marijuana.
“Having my card made it so much easier to quit alcohol altogether,” Ron says. “Also, as far as pain relief benefits go, I think a lot of times I was pretty numb from the drinking. But I’ve realized the pain relief, and it’s helped me get sleep and an appetite.”
Beyond the health benefits, Ron says sativa strains have also kept him creative musically.
After losing both of his parents within the last couple of years, it could have been easy to start drinking again, but Ron thinks medical marijuana can also help him process grief in a healthier way.
Furthermore, he finds himself to much more motivated, even teaching junior high and high school students drum lessons. He has also helped organize benefit concerts for his friend’s son, who has an inoperable brain tumor.
Ron is the complete opposite of the “stoner” stereotype.
“[Cannabis] has helped me be way more motivated,” Ron expresses. “I’m doing some pretty cool stuff, and trying to help kids. I wish the stigma would go away that stoners are lazy. I was pretty lazy when I was drinking — sleeping way too late in the day and not getting stuff done.”
In the future, Ron hopes Prop. 205 passes, and cannabis can become more affordable and accessible for many.