Medical marijuana activist and former day-time TV talk-show host Montel Williams suffers from MS. He's a co-founder of Albatin Wellness Cooperative, a dispensary in Sacramento, California. Abatin also won a contract to grow cannabis in Washington, DC.
Born on July 3, 1956 in Baltimore, Williams spent four years in the Navy before launching his TV career. In 1991, The Montel Williams Show debuted on KCOP in Los Angeles. Picked up for syndication by CBS Paramount Television, it was a staple of day-time talk for the next 16 years. The show was canceled in 2008.
Williams had begun discussing his illness and use of marijuana on the show, but it wasn't until after the show ended that he became a full-time advocate. Williams has spoken before many state legislatures and reform conferences, often tearing up as he tells his story of spasticity and the relief provided by the medicinal use of marijuana.
"For immediate cessation I smoke it," Williams says. "Most of the time I eat it at night because I suffer from extreme tremors in the evening and I also suffer from extreme neuralgic pain in my feet. If I eat it in the evening it takes [the pain] from a six to about a three. When I pop out of bed I'm normally at my best, so that's when I work out and I try to get as much work done early in the day. As I get later on in the day, my feet start to go on fire. When they start to hit the fire mark I'm easing my pain, it's just that simple. I've been speaking to politicians all around the country and all around the world on this issue and you'd be surprised that more people understand and back it and believe in it."
However, Williams also regularly states: "I have never been or will I ever be in favor of the full legalization of marijuana."
In 2011, Williams was arrested for possessing a marijuana pipe at Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee. The charged was subsequently dismissed.
He's been married three times and has four children. Williams and his current wife, flight attendant Tara Fowler, wed in 2007.