Emmy award-winning talk show host Montel Williams, 47, shocked daytime TV viewers on January 13, 2004 when he used his syndicated and highly popular program, The Montel Williams Show, to promote the benefits of medical marijuana.
The special episode came shortly after Williams, who suffers from multiple sclerosis (MS), was detained and fined $100 at Detroit’s Metro Airport. Baggage screeners had discovered a small amount of marijuana and some paraphernalia in his carry-on bag. Though he was released and allowed to continue his flight home to New York, Williams could have received up to a year in state prison under Michigan law, which makes no exception for medical use.
Instead of keeping silent about his legal slip-up and his preference for med-pot medicine, Williams decided to educate his viewing public about cannabis use in treating the pain of MS as well as the depression and sleeping disorders the disease causes.
Williams explained that his doctor-prescribed pot is the only thing that will relieve his pain, and that more socially-acceptable, legal drugs such as Oxycontin and Percoset are useless and potentially dangerous.
“There are doctors who have researched this and understand that for the disease that I have, as well as for cancer and AIDS, medical marijuana works,” Williams said.
Montel’s publicist added that Williams “has prescriptions for many different medications for MS, some of which manage his pain, which is constant. One of the medications he has been prescribed to alleviate his chronic pain is medical marijuana.”
On his show, Montel adamantly destroyed myths about medical marijuana users being lazy and unproductive by saying, “The difference between me being a taxpaying citizen of this country and being at home and drawing off of your money is consuming medicinal marijuana in the evening to be able to work the next day.”
Montel Williams says he hopes his declaration on his show will “inspire others to take a stand.”