Pubdate: Sun, 6 May 2007
Source: Birmingham News, The (AL)
Copyright: 2007 The Birmingham News
Author: Michael Phillips


I am a 36-year-old man with an inoperable brain tumor, which causes
multiple seizures a day. I have been a patient at Children's Hospital
and the Kirklin Clinic since the age of 8. I have had four
unsuccessful brain surgeries. I have been on every seizure medication
known to mankind, as well as some that never received Food and Drug
Administration approval.

A few years ago, I saw a program on marijuana being used as a seizure
deterrent. I decided to try marijuana as a medicine, and I have had
better results using marijuana in its natural form than from any other
treatment in my life. My seizures have decreased from six to eight per
day to one seizure every six to eight weeks. My neurologists have
documented this in my medical records.

I have also been arrested twice for possession of marijuana. It caused
me great hardship both on a psychological level and a monetary level.
I wondered then, as I do now, why people in 12 states are treated like
patients and allowed access to medical marijuana, but here in Alabama
I am treated like a criminal for trying to treat my illness. Are
people in other states somehow more deserving of treatment options
than Alabamians?

There is a bill, HB 206, before the House Judiciary Committee called
the Compassionate Care Act, which would protect physicians who
recommend marijuana to their patients for certain illnesses like
cancer, multiple sclerosis, HIV and seizures. It also would protect
the patients, like me, who use marijuana as medicine from being
prosecuted under state law. Please call your elected officials and
tell them to vote yes on the Compassionate Care Act.

If we must have a war on drugs, can we at least remove the patients
from the battlefield first?

Michael Phillips

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