Former pastor on marijuana: "If you believe in God, you have to - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Former pastor on marijuana: "If you believe in God, you have to believe in cannabis"

"If you believe in God, you have to believe in cannabis," former pastor Al Pollard said.

"It's a plant."

Al Pollard is a bright-eyed, exuberant paraplegic who is on a mission to educate Mississippians about marijuana. He wants it to be legalized, taxed and regulated.

"It's God's medicine," he said.

At age 18, Pollard became paralyzed in a diving accident. He says that during the first 6 months of his accident, he was prescribed to more than twelve medicines per day, including prescription pain narcotics.

After leaving physical therapy, he replaced the prescription drugs with marijuana use.

"I recently came clean with my doctor, telling her I've never taken medicine since my release from rehab. She was shocked, but believed me. I told her marijuana is my medicine and that it helps me," he said.

"Maintaining a moderate use has proven to be the cause of my healthy condition."

Pollard has a prescription for marijuana in California.

"Being a pastor and using cannabis didn't sit well with me, but now that God has freed me to its use, I want to help others understand and become free to the use of cannabis."

He says pot remedies every negative aspect of his life.

"That's what it's doing to me-- I don't have spasms, I sleep better, my bowels are more firm, I've lost weight. When I go on long trips it helps control my bladder," he said.

"I asked my doctor why I should be on something that has side effects when there's a medicine out there without side effects."

He says that's why he's pushing for legalization.

"For us to stand up and say "'alright, no more kicking out our kids because they've got a natural herb in them, no more suspending me off of my job."'

"It should be my God given right. I shouldn't have to go to a doctor for stress when I can go to another state and get herb."

He's in the early stages of his campaign, but plans to speak to city mayors and state legislators so others will jump on board.

"I really, truly believe in my heart that I'm going to walk again, and I believe cannabis is going to be the result of it."

He also admits to sermoning at churches while high.

"Most of the titles for my sermons were most effective after I used cannabis," he said.

"If you don't believe in what God created is good for us, how can you truly believe in God? Today's medicine kills and destroys you with side effects; however, this herbal plant, proven by the ADA, Health Board, gives us a chance of being healthy with longevity."

"This natural herb treats every symptom known to man, and I believe it is Gods natural medicine to man if we embrace and receive it with thanksgiving."

Pollard also said he hopes to educate Mississippians about cannabis, and that he is not encouraging anyone to participate in consuming marijuana illegally.

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