My name is Ronald Posthauer. I’m 57 years old and have five sons. I raised ​three​ of my sons alone, as a single dad, from the time they were ​ages four​, ​two, and ​six​ months old. I attended Purdue University, as part of Vocational Rehabilitation due to a disability while raising my sons​.​ ​I ​graduat​ed ​in 2000 with a Bachelor’s Degree in a double-major. I was a medic in The Indiana National Guard and was awarded the Indianapolis Star News Military Achievement Award.

On September 18, 2001 I began working as the director of the Montgomery County Health Department. ​I​n 2006 I was forced to go on disability due to my back problem. I was referred by my doctor to a pain management specialist​,​ ​and by​ 2009 I was addicted and totally dependent upon large doses of strong opioid pain medications. Fortunately my sons were grown ​by then ​and were not too dependent on me. The chronic pain and the dependency on opiates fueled ​four​ years of major clinical depression. I had no emotions whatsoever. I allowed myself to become homeless and spent six months living in my car in a Walmart parking lot. I wanted to die, but I couldn’t commit suicide. I don’t know how many times I went to sleep after praying not to wake up ever again.

In January ​of ​2016​ after finding an apartment,​ I mustered everything I had left and decided to try to get out of the dark abyss I had spiraled into. I stopped taking opiates and I sought counseling. I​ suffered ​horribly for ​six​ months, physically and mentally. I wasn’t taking pain med​ication​ for fun​,​ I started taking them for real legitimate pain. Not only did I have to detox, but I had to endure my pain since nothing helped except opiates. It took ​two​ years to break completely free from addiction and dependenc​y, but ​I still had debilitating chronic pain and major depression. Most chronic pain patients suffer from some degree of clinical depression. 

I tried ​CBD​ oil with no success​, and a doctor ​also ​prescribed Marinol at one point to try for my pain. Marinol did nothing except make me hungry. During my youth I smoked cannabis heavily between the ages of 17 and 19. I knew what it did and didn’t do, so in January of 2018​​ I decided to commit a crime​:​ I located some cannabis and started to consume it four times a day. In February I actually began working part-time, about 8 hours a week. I am now working and volunteering over 40 hours a week. If I don’t have any setbacks I hope to return to the full-time workforce in the Spring. I can stop collecting Social Security Disability and be a functioning, contributing human being again! I have not felt this good (​i.e., ​normal) in over 30 years. As my pain decreased, my depression decreased. I know cannabis has suppressed my physical pain enough to be able to work again. I suspect cannabis has also helped alleviate my depression, although possibly indirectly. 

So as of now, I am constantly at risk of being abducted at any time, at any place, by police officers, being locked in a cage with violent people, ​and​ branded a criminal. Th​at’s when the real​ brutality begins. I’ll be forced to surrender my body fluids so I can​ prove​ that I’m no longer treating my disability. I’ll be forced​ to do so​, with the threat of being locked back into a cage with violent individuals. Then​,​ being incarcerated​,​ I will not even be eligible for Social Security anymore. 

I’m not going to bother with all of the evidence showing how safe cannabis use is or all of the proven benefits. It would just be ignored like it has been ignored for over ​fifty​ years for political reasons and ​due to ​ignorance. I know that sharing my story is not without risk, but I’m advocating because the Indiana legislature needs to understand that their insistence on maintaining prohibition is harming ordinary Hoosiers. I’m just a man who wants his life back without being forced to break the law or move away from my family​, but if Indiana legislators do not take action during the 2019 session, Indiana will no longer be the state I call “home”.