Pubdate: Thu, 09 Aug 2007
Source: Ledger, The (Lakeland, FL)
Copyright: 2007 The Ledger
Author: Aaron Shaw


"I was diagnosed with Tourette's syndrome and attention deficit 
hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) when I was 12 years old. Tourette's 
syndrome causes severe, involuntary movements and vocal outbursts. By 
the time I was 19, the twitching was so bad that I had dislocated 
joints all over my body. My doctors tried everything to relieve my 
pain and vocal outbursts. When all else failed, I decided to try 
medical marijuana.

Marijuana seems to perfectly complement the many prescription 
medicines I take on a daily basis. It eases my pain and allows me to 
reduce my intake of painkillers, and my dosage of Orap, a Tourette's 
syndrome drug that can negatively affect the heart. Marijuana also 
stimulates my appetite, which is weakened by Adderall, an 
amphetamine-based drug that treats my ADHD, but causes unwanted side 
effects like appetite loss. Marijuana has provided me with hope and 
inspiration that I can lead a normal life. Though I am on disability 
and don't have to work, I choose to work because I want to contribute 
to society. I would not be a functioning member of society if it were 
not for marijuana, and it's essential that people like me make our 
voices heard."

This is a note that I see every day that I take upon myself the 
effort at making medical marijuana issues a reality here in the state 
of Florida. It does not make much sense that those that are ill have 
to be put under such avid criticism when the choice of health care 
options are theirs and their doctors to make and keep heed to.

For this reason, our Legislature should enact laws that protect 
patients from arrest and imprisonment the approach that I and others 
that have pledged under the cause of e-activist with the Marijuana 
Policy Project. When they have their doctors' approval, patients 
should be able to use medical marijuana without fear of arrest and 
imprisonment. They should also be able to rely on a safe supply of 
marijuana, without having to resort to the dangerous criminal market. 
A gesture that is overlooked by most due to the uncertainty of the 
drug that is at hand being that in marijuana and the options that 
come with it the legalization of this effort in which it becomes more 
than an option of those who choose this form of pain relief as they 
try to grasp life by the handle and take this struggle in full stride.

Ultimately, the decision of what medicine is best for an illness 
should be left up to the patient and the doctor, not to the 
government, meaning we should become more aware of the options of a 
doctor's advice as well as our own well being while under a doctor's care.

Aaron Shaw

Lake Wales
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