Today, Dr. Marion “Mollie” Fry was released from Federal custody. After spending the majority of the last five years of her precious life in prison for defending patient’s rights everywhere, Mollie Fry M.D. is back!
I was deeply honored to sit down with one of the greatest heroines in the movement to hear her story of perseverance, faith and determination. When I asked how she was doing, she responded, “I am so grateful for the place I am in my life.”
In 1997, she was stricken with cancer. Treated with conventional chemotherapy and a double mastectomy, she started using cannabis to combat the severe side effects of chemotherapy following an oral recommendation of her doctor. At that time no cancer doctor was willing to provide a written recommendation for medical cannabis, which led to the El Dorado County Sheriff investigation of her person garden. As a result Mollie became “incredibly aware of the injustice that a law passed by the voters of California to protect sick, dying and disabled people had become the focus of law enforcements persecution.”
Despite her illness she realized she had the power to write recommendations and protect patients from law enforcement. In 1999, as she was still fighting cancer, Mollie Fry M.D. and her husband, Dale Schafer, Esq. opened one of the first medical cannabis practices in California. Patients first met with Dale Esq. to determine their legal rights within Proposition 215, after which they were seen by Mollie M.D. to determine if medical cannabis would be beneficial in relieving their various symptoms. The California Medical Research Clinic in Cool, California was the first of its kind. Patients were very afraid to assert their rights under the new law, but Mollie and Dale worked without ceasing to promote research and expand the reach of cannabis for therapeutic use through education and activism.
By June of 2000 it was obvious to Mollie that the surgery and chemotherapy had failed. The cancer was spreading throughout her body, and as the disease progressed she became unable to work, but kept the clinic open with the use of physician’s assistants. By December she was confined to her room. Mollie recalls that time in her life,
“My husband had told the children to say goodbye to their mother because this was her last Christmas. I was locked in extreme grief and sorrow when I believe I had a deep and meaningful contact with God through prayer that resulted in my miraculous healing.”
As she explained just how this happened, tears of pain and joy filled both our eyes. It is an experience not many people are blessed with. Mollie Fry M.D. had experienced life as a patient, and she could relate to a patient’s physical, emotional, mental and even spiritual pain. She explains, “It was this intimate contact with God that made me recognize there was nothing more important to me in life [other] than working to free God’s medicine.”
Mollie and her husband where spreading the truth about cannabis before it was accepted, and this put them in a very vulnerable landscape where unenlightened and thus uncompassionate powers interfere. Her office and home were raided in September of 2001. Mollie, her 14 year old son and her 9 month old granddaughter, where enjoying an autumn afternoon at home alone when armed officers barged through the door. As her granddaughter slept in the bedroom, Mollie and her son where held to the floor with guns to their heads. As her son lay sobbing next to her, she said over and over, “We submit, you are welcome in our home.” There were no arrests at the time of the raid but this day demonstrated the lengths to which federal agents would stoop to persecute and prosecute over a medicinal herb.
The next morning the clinic opened as usual with Mollie hand writing recommendations, since all the computers had been seized. She knew that she was adhering to the oath of doing no harm and helping patients find relief by recommending a natural non-toxic alternative. However, she did not comprehend the will of the people could be so easily violated by federal authorities. She did not fully understand that being a leader in implementation of the Compassionate Use Act could really send her to prison. In June of 2005, almost 5 years after the raid, Mollie Fry M.D. and Dale Schafer Esq. were arrested.
In September of 2007, the 5th day of the trial was carried out with the judge not allowing the state medical marijuana defense for the plants that were growing on their property. Since the federal government denies that there is any medical value to cannabis, and even though Mollie and Dale were educated, upstanding, and respected citizens that followed the law, the federal government took their lives as they knew it. The Controlled Substances Act supersedes state law even when voted in by the people; without a defense, they were each sentenced to a mandatory minimum of five years in federal prison.
I attended the protest on May 2, 2011, as Mollie and Dale surrendered to sixty months in confinement. After serving 87% of that time due to good behavior, Mollie Fry M.D. is a survivor once again. When I ask of her insights from prison, she replies,
“Life is about choices. I made the choice to stand up against the government. I made a choice to stand up for a higher moral law, to stand up for the rights of sick people, and I would make that choice again.”
Many states have followed California’s lead in implementing laws to protect patient rights to cannabis as a medicine since 1996. Popular opinion has shifted as well, since Dr. Sanja Gupta and Dr. Oz illuminated the topic on national television. Now the general public is starting to understand people should have the right to heal themselves by any means necessary. Over the years Mollie has gained huge support across the United States for her mission. When I ask her, “What does the future hold for you?” She replies, “I have many projects I am working on…to educate people regarding the benefits of cannabis and the endocannabinoid system. I am involved in helping modify legislation; I’m also investigating the possibility of reinstating my license with the California Medical Board. I’m taking time for spiritual healing, and taking the time to reconnect with my children and their children to form a strong family unit again.” She is currently working on a book titled, I’ll take the Rocks, covering her remarkable spiritual journey during her complete healing from cancer. Today she is “Deeply moved to continue the fight to free God’s medicine, despite the rocky road.”