Hardy Macia Fights for Medical Marijuana as He Fights for His Life
Update, 6:08 p.m.: Hardy Macia passed away late this afternoon, according to a source close to his family. Friends and fellow activists alike have already begun posting remembrances on his Facebook wall. "Rest in peace, Hardy," wrote one friend. "We will never forget how you went out fighting. You have been such a positive influence on so many people — will miss you, man."
Hardy Macia is a hardcore activist. The 43-year-old software developer and native Vermonter is a longtime Libertarian; he served on the Grand Isle Selectboard and ran as the Libertarian candidate for governor in 2004 hoping to cut taxes, lower the drinking age and legalize pot. In 2007, he moved to New Hampshire, where he was active in Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson's 2012 presidential campaign.
Now Macia is back in Vermont, fighting for his life. He was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma in August 2012. It's typically a treatable form of cancer, but Macia's has not responded the way he and his doctors had hoped. He was recently hospitalized in New Hampshire, then transferred to Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington to be closer to family. He's since been moved to a family member's home in Westford.
In a private Facebook message to me this morning, he summed up his prognosis: "My time is short," he wrote, "the doctors are saying I have days left."
His condition might be a private family matter but for the fact that he's seized this opportunity to continue his campaign to change New Hampshire's marijuana laws. A week ago, he made a 4-minute video in his New Hampshire hospital room and posted it to YouTube. Speaking in a whisper because of a collapsed lung, he implores Gov. Maggie Hassan to help patients like him access medical marijuana. The New Hampshire legislature is currently considering a medical marijuana bill, and it needs the governor's support to pass. "This is about the patients, and doctors," he rasps, "and having the medicine that the patients need."
Macia explains that he occasionally uses marijuana to ease his pain. "To get to sleep at night, sometimes it's the only thing that helps put me out, versus some of the harder drugs they give me, such as the oxycodone or vicodin or whatever."
Macia's video has been widely shared in Libertarian circles and online — an article appeared on the Huffington Post on Wednesday. The Concord Monitor dispatched a reporter to interview Macia from his hospital room in Burlington last week, as well.
I asked Macia if Hassan had responded to his plea. Their response, he wrote, was that she will "listen to all sides."
Take a few minutes, if you can, and listen to Macia's argument. Politics aside, it's hard not to be moved by his drive and dedication to the issue, not to mention his will to live. You can't help but hope he keeps fighting.
Image from Macia's National Youth Rights Association bio.