We pray for you, Deirdre Canaday, and applaud your strong voice against Synthetic Marijuana!
Like Karen Dobner, the president of To The Maximus, you have directed your grief and pain into a positive force to prevent any further death and injury.
We welcome you to this fight, offer you our assistance, and pray for your success!
Synthetic marijuana has been in the news a lot in recent weeks.
First, its sale was banned in stores in New York, but now some lawmakers are pushing to make it criminal to possess or sell it, similar to drugs like crack and meth.
One mother is telling FOX23 News her own story that has spurred her to action.
Deirdre Canaday of Athens in Greene County says she never even heard of synthetic pot until her 26-year-old son died after smoking it last fall.
Now, she says she wants to make sure no other parent has to get the phone she got that came like a punch to the gut.
Deirdre Canaday said, “When he walked into a room, it was like a tornado would walk in and then when he’d leave, the calm would settle.”
That tornado was Deirdre Canaday’s son, Aaron Stinson, whose first name means bright light – a light that was extinguished onSeptember 26, 2011, after he smoked something called “Mr. Nice Guy” relaxinol, a type of synthetic marijuana, then went to sleep.
In the morning, Aaron’s friends found him in complete cardiac and respiratory arrest.
“It literally created a death of sleep,” said Canaday. “It effected his central nervous system so that his breathing shallowed, stopped, and his heart followed, and I can tell you he was in the best physical condition of his life.”
Which is why Deirdre has teamed with her friend Tom Plank, the DARE officer in the Windham and Cairo-Durham schools, and her assemblyman, Pete Lopez, to push for a bill that would make possession of synthetic marijuana a crime.
Tom Plank said, “I’ve had the experience with kids saying this stuff is ok because it’s legal and they think just because it’s legal to have it and possess it, it’s ok to take it.”
“We’re not just talking about stopping a substance that causes mischief or causes some minor issues, we’re talking about serious health risks and loss of life,” said Assemblyman Pete Lopez.
Deirdre says Aaron touched lives along the way, and she hopes his death can touch, and save, others.
“I believe that God puts us on this earth to be a force for good so whenever I see, I think maybe that’s where Aaron got it, whenever I see someone that needs help, I just help them,” said Deirdre Canaday.
Assemblyman Lopez says there is bipartisan support for this in both houses, and he hopes that will move it along quickly.
Democratic Assemblyman Felix Ortiz is also moving a bill that would create a civil penalty of $500 for anyone found to be selling synthetic marijuana products in stores.
Deirdre Canaday acknowledges that Aaron occasionally smoked pot, and switched to the synthetic variety because he was told it would not show up on a drug test, and also that it was all natural, not the compound of chemicals it actually is.