Logo with photo of Angelica

Artistic. Natural. Gracious. Eclectic. Loving. Intelligent. Courageous. Adventurous. What other adjectives might describe Angelica Warren? With her passing on September 2nd, she’s now the stuff of legend, or at least she should be.

Angelica – Angel for short – might have been your typical Millennial. A free spirit who challenged authority. But any vision of a normal life became colored by the worst possible diagnosis: brain cancer. For the last 15 years, terminal illness transformed a beautiful young woman with endless possibilities into a debilitated, housebound patient. Was Angel content with this fate? Frankly, No. But she defied the odds. Considering her journey, she was one special Angel.

These memories make this clear.

The Ohio Cannabis Rights Amendment (OCRA). On May 24, 2013, nine activists stood on the steps of the Ohio Statehouse holding a “Stronger Safer Healthier Ohio” banner. (See photo below.) Can you spot Angelica? Front row, fourth from the left, right in the middle. She loved and believed in cannabis. Did she look like the feckless stoner? Not at all. One might mistake her for a suburban housewife. Angel knew who she had to be that day, and as a result, became the poster person for mega media coverage. With her intelligent articulate style, she defied stereotypes.

Terrasana Opening Day. The slow pace at which the Ohio Medical Marijuana Program (OMMCP) opened, combined with its high prices, fed Angelica’s burning contempt for it. Still, she wanted to be the first in line. Opening day came in March 2019 as winter winds blew cold on the 100-person line that enwrapped the new dispensary. The wait to get inside lasted two long freezing hours. Angelica, can we go home? Maybe try another time? Nope, we’re going stay as long as it takes. And with that, we did. Her stubborn, courageous, and adventurous self was on full display that day.

Natural Therapies. One of Angelica’s proudest moments came with the founding of the nonprofit Natural Therapies Education Foundation (NTEF) where she served as Vice Chair. She was also a board member of the Ohio Rights Group that fielded the OCRA; a fundraiser for the Ohio Hempfest; and an ardent ComFest volunteer. Each of these groups educate and advocate for natural alternatives to the chemical compound approach to modern medicine. And, even as a program critic, eclectic Angelica regularly attended meetings of the governmental committee that advised the OMMCP. Simple attendance and criticism for her fell short. To amplify her ideas, she twice applied for a seat at the table: patient representative to the committee. They would have been wise to listen to her.

Cancer. Angelica spoke often about cancer. The multiple brain surgeries (as many as eleven) and various chemotherapy regimens her doctors used to treat it. Some worked, some didn’t. She was a regular face at the OSU James Comprehensive Cancer Center and even consulted the National Cancer Institute and the National Institutes of Health.

Much like 40% of cancer patients, she utilized cannabis. Cannabis worked. Some suggest that it accounts for her 15-year survival. In 1975, a clinical study found that cannabis inhibits tumor growth. The meaningful question becomes, why isn’t it widely supported and employed today as a therapeutic agent? Why do The James and other care facilities ban it?

It comes down to politics and the War on Drugs. Here are some startling statistics:

  • In 1970, President Richard Nixon signed the Controlled Substances Act relegating cannabis to the most restrictive Schedule 1 and constricting research for over 50 years.
  • In June 1971, President Richard Nixon declared War on Drugs, characterizing drug use as “public enemy number one.” In reality, Nixon invented the drug war to silence blacks and hippies.
  • In December 1971, President Richard Nixon declared War on Cancer.
  • In 1975, researchers found that THC and CBN inhibited tumor growth and essentially “cured” cancer. In 2021, a clinical review reported, “Both CBD and THC are promising compounds in the fight against brain cancers.”
  • From 1970 to 2023, an astounding 27.1 million Americans died of cancer. (Sources: National Cancer Institute and the Centers for Disease Control) In 2023 alone, cancer will cause an expected 609,820 deaths, 24,810 of them from cancerous tumors of the brain and spinal cord.
  • What if … just what if … the “cure for cancer” was right under our noses. What if cannabis and cancer research had been permitted in 1975? If only half of those who have died since then would have been “cured,” that’s almost 14 million Americans spared the agony that is cancer. For 15 years, Angelica Warren was, in part, among them. The endogenous human endocannabinoid system, that runs on cannabis-like compounds common to all mammals, has become a legitimate target for brain cancer treatment. 

In the end, Angel donated her cancer-afflicted brain to The James. As her legacy, let’s hope that Congress heeds the recent Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recommendation to down schedule cannabis and enable critical research; that The James and other research institutions take seriously the clinical findings showing cannabis to be an anti-cancer agent; that whole plant cannabis medicines will be made widely available to all patients; and that no span of 50 years will ever again separate patients from effective medicine.

There was much to love about Angelica Warren that made her special. Her warm smile, her tenacity, her photography, her talent, her intelligence, her courage to live a full life despite incredible odds. She always remained gracious and optimistic, and participated in life the best she could without complaint or blame. As once the longest living brain cancer survivor, and even with multiple surgeries, chemotherapy, and a host of side effects, she retained a positive outlook on life. “She was our special angel right from paradise. We know that she was an angel. Heaven was in her eyes.” (Paraphrased from Jimmy Duncan, Bobby Helms, and the Vogues) These are qualities we should all seek to emulate.                                       
As the saying goes, be the things you loved most about the people who are gone

View this article about Angelica Warren in PDF format here.



If you’re reading Mary Jane’s Guide, you should know by now that adult use marijuana will be on the fall 2023 ballot as Issue 2, a citizen-initiated statute. If you would like to learn more, the lists below link to nine different resources. Angelica would say vote YES!

One current update involves polling. A recently released poll by FM3 Research found that three in five Ohio voters support the RMLA. Fifty-five percent of the 843 respondents “definitely” or “probably” will vote for the measure in November; addition those who “lean” yes ups overall approval to 59%. Opponents number 34%. These results match similar findings by Fallon Research in August and Suffolk University in July. The RMAL campaign should be pleased.


Here is the full text of the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol (RMLA) statute.

Here are bullet points that outline the RMLA’s provisions.

Here is a document that overviews the initiated statute process using the RMLA as an example.

Here is the legislative language of H.B. 168, the Enact Adult Use Act, similar to the RMLA.

Here is Mary Jane’s Guide “Initiate this: Adult Use Comes to Ohio.” December 2022. Deep dives into the RMLA.

Here is Mary Jane’s Guide “Just Say NO! to Issue 1.” May 2023. Covers Issue 1 and the RMLA, offering a historical backdrop.

Here is Mary Jane’s Guide “UPDATES: Issue 1 – RMLA – Courage in Cannabis Launch.” July 2023. Updates Issue 1 and the RMLA.

Here is Mary Jane’s Guide “Adult Use Marijuana & Courage in Cannabis Updates.” August 2023.

Here is a Wikipedia entry about the RMLA.


WANT Adult Use MARIJUANA in OHIO? VOTE YES! on Issue 2 - NOVEMBER 7, 2023! Here’s how:

  1. Find out if you are eligible. You must meet certain criteria to vote in Ohio: 18+ years old, Ohio resident for at least 30 days and not incarcerated, among others.
  2. Check your voter registration with the Ohio Secretary of State (SoS). Click here. You can register to vote, update your address, or just make sure your information is correct. The registration deadline is October 10th. Here’s a FAQ on voting from the SoS.
  3. Find out where you vote. Polling places can change from election to election. The Secretary of State provides this information here. See the clickable map or choose the Ohio county in which you reside.
  4. Make your plans before you vote. You can vote in person at your polling place on election day, or in person at an early voting location star􀆟ng 10/11/2023 (hours vary), or by absentee ballot requested from the Secretary of State. Here are absentee ballot instructions.
  5. Mark your calendar now, make a plan, and Vote YES on Issue 2 for adult use marijuana!!


Mary Jane Borden is a best-selling author, skilled graphic artist, and award-winning cannabis activist from Westerville, Ohio. During her 40-year career in drug policy, she co-founded seven cannabis-oriented groups, co-authored four proposed constitutional amendments, lobbied for six medical marijuana bills, penned 100+ Columbus Free Press articles, and has given hundreds of media interviews. She is one of the Courage in Cannabis authors, with articles in both editions. Her artwork can be viewed at and she can be reached at maryjaneborden@ Mary Jane was Angel’s caregiver under the OMMCP.