Mae Nutt (1920-), known as “Grandma Marijuana,” is an advocate for the legalization of marijuana (cannabis) for medical and therapeutic use. Nutt became such a unique advocate after two of her sons, Keith (December 21, 1955-October 20, 1979) and Dana (1958-1967) died from cancer. Keith was able to find relief from violent nausea caused by Cisplatin, a highly toxic form of chemotherapy, only by smoking marijuana.
Mae was frustrated that the one thing that helped give Keith relief was an illegal drug. She began her crusade to legalize the medical use of marijuana before Keith died. On October 10, 1979, the Michigan House voted unanimously to make marijuana available to patients suffering from “life-or sense-threatening” diseases like glaucoma, cancer and multiple sclerosis. Five days later, the Senate agreed. Act No. 125 of the Public Acts of 1979 (“The Michigan Controlled Substances Therapeutic Research Program”) was signed into law on the day Keith died. A subsequent memorial resolution was adopted by the Senate in Keith’s memory.
Following Keith’s death, Mae began operating a “Green Cross” from the Nutts’ home in Beaverton, Michigan, illegally distributing Keith’s remaining marijuana to those needing it for medical relief. She also learned how to bake or make marijuana brownies, butter and suppositories.
In January 1988, Mae (age 66) and her husband of 35 years, Arnold (age 68), were invited by Robert C. Randall to testify with the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). Randall was head of the Alliance for Cannabis Therapeutics (ACT) and the first person to receive legal pot from the federal government to relieve his glaucoma symptoms. The Nutts testified before the DEA’s chief administrative law judge, Judge Francis Young, concerning the second appeal to reclassify marijuana from a “hallucinogenic substance” to a “prescription” drug.
Eight months later, Judge Young agreed to change the status of marijuana to that of a prescription drug. The DEA’s administrator, John Lawn, promptly overruled the decision. The case was appealed, and in April 1991 remanded to the DEA for further consideration.
Since then Mae has testified at various hearings. During the 1980s Mae served as ACT’s vice-president. She continues to operate her “Green Cross” and work with cancer victims in Midland Hospital.
In November 1990, the Nutts received The Robert C. Randall Award for Achievement in the Field of Citizen Action, accompanied by a $10,000 check from the Drug Policy Foundation for their efforts in the fight to legalize marijuana for medical uses.
Mae and Arnold’s third son, Mark, currently lives in California.
(This information is from the collection and the Social Security Death Index.)