Pubdate: Wed, 16 Jan 2013
Source: Chicago Sun-Times (IL)
Copyright: 2013 Associated Press
Author: Matt Volz
Page: 50


HELENA, Mont. (AP) - Lori Burnam, a Hamilton woman with lung cancer 
who became the face of medical marijuana advocacy in Montana, has 
died at age 66.

Ms. Burnam died Thursday at her home of what the medical examiner 
determined was natural causes, said Chris Lindsey, president of an 
advocacy group that Ms. Burnam testified for in challenging a 
restrictive marijuana law.

The cancer "had metastasized and was in her bones. The family 
believes that's what made the difference," Lindsey said.

Ms. Burnam also had glaucoma, emphysema and other ailments and had 
been using marijuana to ease her pain and stimulate her appetite 
since her cancer diagnosis nearly five years ago.

She said in an October interview that she preferred marijuana over 
other medication because it allowed her to function and interact with 
her family.

"I want to enjoy the time I've got with my family, eating and 
laughing," she said then. "I just want some comfort and peace, and 
I'm entitled to it."

She was an outspoken advocate whose story was featured in the 
documentary "Code of the West" that tracked the 2011 debate over 
adding restrictions to Montana's medical marijuana law to rein in an 
industry that exploded after 2009.

The Legislature passed the bill that eliminated compensation for 
medical marijuana providers and reduced the number of patients to 
whom they can distribute to three.

Supporters said the restrictive measures would return the law to what 
voters wanted when they approved medical marijuana in 2004, but Ms. 
Burnam and thousands of other patients feared they would lose their providers.

"Anyone who says I can grow my own marijuana doesn't understand. I'm 
sick and it isn't necessarily an easy thing to do," Ms. Burnam told 
the AP in October. "Under this legislation, there's no way to even 
obtain seeds or the plants. Honestly, it seems the system is made to 
work against us, not for us."
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