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Our thanks to Robert Broussard from our Facebook group for alerting us to this.
Tom O'Connor: Crazy or Just Inspired?
Santa Uses Cannabis for Cancer. As reported by The Guardian in 2015, Tom O'Connor of Lake Tahoe, Nevada in 2013 decided to change his legal name to Santa Claus. For real.
After growning a coincidentally full and bushy white beard, his unusually authentic Kris Kringle resemblance led to portrayal of Father Christmas for a number of local charities, with O'Connor focusing on children's causes.
O'Connor publishes on his website: "For more than two decades, I have been a volunteer advocate for millions of children who have been abused, neglected, exploited, abandoned, homeless, and institutionalized."
Santa is a Monk. Sorry.
But this is no conventional Santa. Wrote the Anchorage Daily News, "[O'Connor] owns a Santa suit but dreads wearing it. He'd rather don his crimson monk’s robe. When children approach, asking for Xboxes, he tends to take them on a rhetorical journey about the very nature of gift giving. It ends like this: Love is the greatest gift of all."
O'Connor Lives in Alaska
Santa Uses Cannabis for Cancer. O'Connor, er rather...Claus, decided to incarnate the mythical holiday figure and was so serious about the pursuit that he relocated to...again, this really happened...North Pole, Alaska (a village of about 2,300 just south of Fairbanks).
His unique decision happened after praying about whether he should change his name. "Right after I finished my prayer, this white, sort of nondescript car comes by. I heard what sounded like a guy in his 20s shout out, 'Santa, I love you!'"
North Pole City Council Mania
In 2015, the then 68-year-old man resembling Santa Claus ran for and won a city council seat in North Pole (he was a write-in candidate who won by 58 votes). He spent the next several days granting interviews, sometimes with media outlets as far away as Israel.
O'Connor Leverages His Political Edge
Santa Uses Cannabis for Cancer. O'Connor claimed that portraying Kris Kringle "gives a person a political edge."
"On more than one occasion he has called a legislator, lobbying for support on a child welfare issue. When he's been brushed off, he has called local media and introduced himself. Then the local media, seeing a story, called the legislator. And then, magically, someone from the politician's office called to discuss his concerns. It seems no politician wants to come out publicly against Santa Claus," wrote The Guardian.
O'Connor Uses Pot for Cancer
Santa Uses Cannabis for Cancer. Unfortunately, we must report that O'Connor has cancer. Two types, he has told the media—but those types remain undefined. He said that he has turned down "traditional treatments" and relies exclusively on "doctor-recommended medical marijuana."
"People have taken me to task for medical marijuana because they think it's a bad image."
O'Connor is serious enough about medical cannabis that, during the summer of 2015, he lobbied against a measure that would have banned medical cannabis dispensaries in his home of North Pole. He was successful in swaying the vote to pro-cannabis.
However, O'Connor has acknowledged that a pot-using Santa who focuses on children's charities does challenge many to leave their stigma at the door. "People have taken me to task for medical marijuana because they think it's a bad image. I think it's a practical consideration," said O'Connor.
When we reached out to O'Connor to request an interview, he admonished us for using his pre-Santa name in this article and declined the request.
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