Terrence Nelson-Video ThumbnailSenator Terrence A. Nelson of the U.S. Virgin Islands has a message for advocates of legalized cannabis: Quit being timid.

“We’ve been timid,” Nelson said recently as one of the keynote speakers at the National Cannabis Chamber of Commerce’s Indo Expo conference in Denver. “Why?”

“If this is a democracy and people drive policy . . . why are we still being timid about our push for legalization” when 23 states have legalized medicinal marijuana and a majority of Americans “are interested in one way or another in some form of legalization,” Nelson asked.

“Maybe it’s time,” he said, “we adults who feel like adults should be able to have access to marijuana for adult consumption should say ‘so what if I want to smoke marijuana.'”

It’s especially important, Nelson said, for cannabis supporters to speak out on behalf of medical patients who need cannabis to treat their ailments.

He mentioned Coltyn Turner, a teenager whose family moved to Colorado from Illinois to get access to cannabis to treat the Crohn’s disease that was killing him, and Brandon Coats, a quadriplegic fired recently by Dish Network for using medical cannabis.

“Why are these people standing alone,” Nelson asked. “Are we brave adults too afraid to stand up? What good are we when we can’t stand up for what’s right? When truth and right is on your side, you cannot fail.”