Cat Mayberry grabbed her backpack and ran out the door.
With no jacket, hat, or gloves, she ran through snow flurries on a cold Minnesota day. She ran down the street, and down the hill. She ran down the nature trail near her family’s home in Eden Prairie, a southwest suburb of Minneapolis.
Trent Mayberry, Cat’s dad, ran after his 20-year-old daughter. He caught up to her and grabbed her by her backpack, stopping her. They sat together on the frozen ground. Trent cried. Cat was scared but otherwise expressionless.
“Catherine, I love you so much,” he told his daughter. “We’re trying to help you.”
“You’ve got to let me go,” Cat replied softly. “Just let me go.”
Trent guided his daughter home, holding the straps of her backpack and using it to direct her, like a joystick. How could this girl, walking like a zombie, be the same girl who just a few years earlier had been a sunny honor student and varsity athlete with the world at her fingertips? Sure, she’d been using marijuana, but to Trent, it was just pot, basically harmless.
Trent sat Cat in the backseat of the family’s car with her mother, Jane, and drove her to a nearby Hazelden addiction treatment facility. Cat had agreed earlier to go, communicating mostly with nods. But when it came time to leave, she ran. And when her parents eventually got her there, she wouldn’t — or couldn’t — engage with the center’s staff.
“We can’t force people to be here,” Trent recalled a staff member telling him. “Your daughter won’t talk to me, hasn’t said anything. There’s just nothing we can do.”
Desperate, Trent and Jane took their daughter to the emergency room. It was there, in the fall of 2018, that they got the first real understanding of what was troubling her: schizophrenia.
For six years, Trent and Jane Mayberry had a front-row seat to their daughter’s spiraling descent into psychosis — her inability to communicate, her increasingly disheveled appearance, the piercings and tattoos. She heard voices. She had friends who likely weren’t real. Her descent ended in methamphetamine use and ultimately, a deadly overdose.
Both Trent and Jane are convinced that their daughter’s heavy marijuana use is to blame.
“I’m 100 percent certain that it came from cannabis,” Trent told National Review of his daughter’s psychosis. “If she never used cannabis, there’s a very high likelihood she would not have had these types of symptoms.”
Catherine Mayberry was born in June 1998, when inhaling marijuana was still potentially disqualifying for presidential candidates. Over her lifetime, shifting public opinion has increasingly backed legalization of the drug for medical and recreational use — a political position that has tended not to follow neat partisan fault lines.
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