Pot Activists Enlist Republican Grandma In Legalization Fight

By Paul Gaita 02/25/15

An 85-year-old Texas Republican is advocating for the legalization of marijuana.

Ann Lee
Passionate supporter of medical weed. Photo via

Marijuana advocates in Texas have found an unlikely but potent spokesperson for their efforts in Houston—resident Ann Lee.

The 85-year-old Republican supporter has been making the rounds to local legislature to press for marijuana legalization in Texas, and has found that her presence has proven effective in delivering her message.

“I don’t know whether it’s my age, the white hair, whatever it is, but [it] does seem to strike a chord,” said Lee. Whatever the case, Lee has a personal reason for reforming the state’s marijuana laws: her son was involved in an accident that left him wheelchair-bound.

Medical marijuana proved to be the only effective treatment for his condition, which transformed Lee, and her late husband Bob, into fervent supporters of legalizing the drug. “We realized marijuana wasn’t the weed of the devil, which I had been known to say,” she explained.

So far, Lee’s message has attracted a lot of attention. “I’ve been an activist for many years, but I’ve never had the response I’m now getting,” she said. “I believe in this.” Lee faces an uphill battle on this issue, since Texas still considers the possession of marijuana a crime, with an arrest for two ounces or less carrying a misdemeanor charge and up to 180 days in jail.

Lee considers that her Republican legislators have the wrong take on this issue. “It’s not Republican to support prohibition,” she said. “The government has no business telling you you cannot use marijuana for medicinal purposes.”

After visits to Houston, Lee says she next plans to take her cause to Washington.

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Paul Gaita lives in Los Angeles. He has contributed to the Los Angeles Times, Variety, LA Weekly, Amazon.com and The Los Angeles Beat, among many other publications and websites.