LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- He spent years telling others stories on his own talk show. Now, Montel Williams is the one sharing his story to advocate for medical marijuana.
He gave a presentation at the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Association symposium Wednesday.
"Marijuana isn’t a gateway drug, it is probably going to be the first line of defense exit drug for opioid addiction," said Williams.
While slightly more than half of Arkansas voters voted to implement medical marijuana, many still have a negative view of the drug. That’s what Williams wants to change.
“I would like the talking to stop and the medication to flow. Honestly, my dream is that we don’t have to have conversations like this anymore," said Williams.
Instead of shying away from conversations, he's opening up to those hoping to get into the business here in Arkansas. For 17 years, Williams told THV11 he's turned to marijuana for its medicinal value.
"I have leg tremors, pain, I have things most people won’t ever deal with in their entire life and I deal with on a daily basis," said Williams.
Diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, a chronic disease with no cure, Williams said marijuana is the only drug that provides relief.
"Cannabis is the only thing that lets me deal with those things and have a functional contributing life," said Williams.
By sharing his story across the country, he's hoping marijuana will become more readily available for patients who may benefit from it.
"What makes people think they have the right to step in when the doctor says marijuana or cannabinoids? It’s ridiculous and its done not because of any medical reason whatsoever. It’s done because of lies and false information that people have had and they continue to perpetrate and has caused this stigma that needs to be removed," said Williams.
The deadline for potential cultivators and distributors to submit applications was Monday. Now the Medical Marijuana Commission will begin reviewing those applications to decide on five cultivators and 32 distributors.