Vail Valley woman finds marijuana a better alternative for her insomnia
Stop into Angela Moore's Vail Valley shop some afternoon and you'll find her cutting hair for everyone from school kids to senior citizens. It's about the last place you'd expect to find a medical marijuana patient.
Moore, owner of the Cuttin' Loose salon in Eagle, is a single mom and a homeowner. She counts cops and lawyers among her regular clients. She's also an open book when it comes to her life. She acknowledges she's gone through rehab for a drinking problem, and worries what her parents, her landlord, and her college-age daughter will think once they learn she uses medical marijuana.
“But I wanted to put a face on this,” she said. “There's just been so much negativity about it and I wanted to put a positive spin on it.”
Plagued for years with insomnia that would sometimes keep her awake for days, Moore tried prescription drugs of virtually every kind. Most would bring her sleep, but would then leave her mushy-headed the next day. That's not the way Moore wanted to greet her customers, and it's especially not the way she wants to feel when holding scissors alongside their heads.
About 18 months ago, one of Moore's friends suggested she might sleep better with a little marijuana just before bedtime. But there was a problem: Moore, 47, had never been a smoker, and had to learn how to inhale.
“I'd tried it when I was younger and didn't get high,” she said. Her friend helped her through the process of inhaling and holding the smoke in her lungs.
The first time the drug did what it supposed to “it scared the hell out of me,” she said. But she also slept better than she had in months that first night, and woke up clear-headed and ready to work.
So, Moore started smoking a little pot, but only just before bedtime. She even locks up her stuff in a safe at her home. For her, it's medicine, and she treats it that way. She only uses it at home, and only when she knows she's in for the night.
“I wouldn't want to be in anyone's shop where I smelled pot,” she said.
As for using in the day, Moore says there's no way she could.
“If you're stoned all day, you're not going to get much done,” she said.
After more than a year of getting marijuana the old-fashioned, illegal way — through friends, or through the folks her friends bought their pot from — Moore talked to her doctors about whether she might qualify for a medical marijuana prescription.
“It's very hard to access it (illegally),” Moore said. “You feel like a criminal when you're trying to get it.”
Her doctor didn't write a prescription — he'd never done it — but did write a four-page letter detailing Moore's condition. In the end, Moore went to a doctor who advertised his services in getting medical marijuana cards for patients.
“I paid him $275, in cash, and met him in a hotel room,” Moore said. “I sat with him for 10 minutes and he wrote me a prescription. It felt a little cheesy, a little cheap.”
But Moore got her prescription, then sent the required paperwork to the state. She now holds a temporary card that gives her permission to posses and use marijuana for medical purposes. She expects her permanent card in the next few weeks.
She carries her permit with her in her wallet, “right next to my fishing license.”
She intends to keep that permit, too, which means she fully intends to walk the straight and narrow path the state lays down for medical marijuana patients. Moore's been told that if she sells, or even gives, her marijuana to anyone else, her license will be revoked forever.
So she's careful. But she's still an advocate for medical marijuana. “I feel healthier than I have in a long, long time,” she said. That's why she decided to share an afternoon with a reporter.
As she talks, a new customer, Dan McCauley, comes in. Told she's talking to a reporter about medical marijuana, McCauley doesn't hesitate with his opinion:
“I think it's a great thing, if people are using it for medical purposes,” McCauley said. “If people aren't abusing it, I'm all for it.”
Moore, obviously, shares that opinion, and is secure enough to share it openly.
“People are going to talk,” she said. “But they've talked enough about me over the years, so what the hell?”
Scott N. Miller
October 4, 2009