On many days, Joshua Lee doesn’t have the strength to lift a bag containing nearly 10,000 Smarties. But to prove an important point — for himself and fellow veterans — he mustered the strength.
Lee, 33, and his wife individually unwrapped 9,828 Smarties and put them in a giant symbolic bag, representing the annual number of pills he takes each year to battle the PTSD, fibromyalgia, and arthritis he developed after serving in Afghanistan.
100% of the pills are prescribed by the VA. “On a daily basis, I’m munching opiates, narcotics, muscle relaxers, anti-depressants, anti-anxiety, anti-psychotics,” he wrote in a Reddit post earlier this month. “Oh, and let’s not forget, I need pills to control the side effects of the first pills.”
The post has since gone viral, and Lee is leveraging the exposure to lobby Missouri to join dozens of other states in legalizing medical marijuana. He’s used his bag as a prop while asking Columbia City Council candidates if they’d support the legalization of medical marijuana, and become active with groups like the Missouri Cannabis Industry Association and Project 22.
And he wants to keep the conversation going online, offering a challenge to anyone unmoved by his photo: “If you still think I would be healthier taking pharmaceuticals, please feel free to educate me.”
9,828.That's a big number, isn't it? Anyone want to eat that many Smarties?Guess what: each one of those represents a…