January 7, 2004
Herald and Weekly Times
On November 3, Montel Williams was briefly detained at Detroit Metro Airport, where baggage screeners found a glass pipe and residue of a marijuana by-product in his bags. That's when the talk show host, who suffers from multiple sclerosis, was outed as a user of the herb for medicinal purposes.
In his first interview after the airport discovery, Williams makes no apologies. In fact, he devotes several chapters to the case for medical marijuana in his new autobiography, "Climbing Higher," in bookstores today. He clears the air to TV Guide Online.
Q. What happened to you in Detroit?
A. When my bags were going through a metal detector at the Detroit airport, the security people found my needles. I take injectable drugs every day. Then, one guy found a perfectly clean glass pipe that looks like an egg. He said, "What do you smoke in it?" I said, "None of your business." And it pissed him off. I also had a little bottle that had been in my bag for a month. It had less than a twentieth of a gram of kef residue. He called the police. They had to give me a paraphernalia violation. (Williams paid a $100 fine.) They said there was too little to bother testing.
Q. Have you done a show on medical marijuana?
A. I'm doing a show on Jan. 13 about the book and this issue. The model Emme, whose father died of MS complications, is going to interview me. I think it's time for a change. I hope to inspire others to take a stand. You cannot tell me that if one of George Bush's daughters came to him and said, "This is the only thing that will help my pain," he'd say, "No, baby, you have to suffer. I'll lay you down on a bed and hook you up to a morphine drip, and when you wake up in four or five days, we'll talk."
Q. Why do you use it?
A. It eases depression in some ways. It helps sleeping disorders and it eases nerve pain.
Q. Why not use any of the legal painkillers?
A. I attempted to use some. Oxycontin and Vicodin are extremely addictive.
Percocet didn't work. Marijuana is the best tool for me.
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