Pubdate: Tue, 10 May 2011
Source: Sudbury Star (CN ON)
Copyright: 2011 Osprey Media
Author: Linda Crabtree


Why do I have to break the law and risk my credibility and reputation
to find relief from pain?

If you live in constant pain or have any one of many conditions that
can be relieved with the use of marijuana, you'll know why I'm writing
this column.

I have lived with chronic burning neuropathic pain for almost 20
years. At first I didn't think anyone could live like this, but I have
and I've met many people in the same boat. It's a tough way to live.
It's stressful, it affects your work, your family and your life. You
just hurt all the time.

And then you find something that helps relieve the pain and lets you
live a fairly normal life, but you have to jump hoops so high to get
it, it's heartbreaking.

Years ago, I asked my general practitioner to sign a form to allow me
to grow and take medical marijuana. He refused.

Then I found a doctor through a diet clinic I was attending and she
signed it. I bought seeds from Marc Emery, in British Columbia, who is
now serving five years in prison for selling marijuana seeds.

I think I received 10 and asked for a strain called Dutch Treat that
would help relieve pain but not give me a high. I want to work,
nothing else.

I grow orchids under lights, so I started my seeds the same way. Out
of the 10, six seeds germinated. Out of those, three huge plants grew
in large pots in my backyard.

They smelled terrible. Pot smells like skunk. And, at the end of the
season, I had mostly seeds but no big sticky heads full of resin that
would give me relief.

I was back to square one, and it was time to renew my license. The
doctor who had signed it had insisted I pay for diet treatment that
was doing me harm, so she was no longer an option.

No one else would comply. No more hope.

Frustrated? That's not the word. I felt betrayed. I still do. I'm
denied something that could help me lead a more normal life because
our government is afraid of what? That I might become addicted?
Research has proven that marijuana is not addictive and when you use
it for pain relief, you rarely even get a high.

Pain killing drugs can definitely be addictive and the side-effects
can be horrendous. I know, I've tried more than 30.

That I might drive erratically? I've pulled up beside young men
smoking marijuana in their car, laughing, and obviously breaking the
law. I've also trailed people who were obviously driving drunk. I
think I can be trusted not to drive if I'm impaired in any way.

That it might affect my life? The pain affects my life a great deal
more than smoking or ingesting marijuana ever will.

Recently, Superior Court Judge Donald Taliano found that Canada's
medical marijuana program fails to give legal access to people who
need it, largely because many family doctors refuse to sign the
required paperwork patients need to apply for it.

His ruling came after a three-year battle by St. Catharines native
Matthew Mernagh, now living in Toronto.

Taliano gave Ottawa three months to overhaul our medical marijuana
program or effectively legalize the production and possession of marijuana.

My thoughts on this: People who need medical marijuana should not have
to have a doctor sign a piece of paper. Their diagnosis should speak
for itself.

We should not have to grow it ourselves, unless we want to, nor should
we have to buy it on the street. Some don't know how to grow it and we
don't know what we're getting when we buy it illegally. As long as it
is illegal, we're breaking the law.

I urge the federal government to look to other countries that have
legalized medical marijuana. Find out how they do it and, please, for
once and for all, let us get on with our lives.

Or, legalize the production and possession for personal use, save
millions enforcing laws that are broken every day and get on with real
law-enforcement problems. 
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