Pubdate: Sun, 15 Mar 2015
Source: Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Copyright: 2015 The Commercial Appeal
Author: Evan Halper, Tribune Washington Bureau


BOCA RATON, Fla. - The interior of Irvin Rosenfeld's Toyota 4Runner 
reeks of marijuana. A tin stuffed with hundreds of joints lies in the 
trunk, and a bag full of them is stored in the door pocket.

On a recent weekday, the 62-year-old stockbroker stopped at a red 
light and took a drag. His exhale filled the cabin with smoke. It was 
his fourth joint that day. It wasn't yet lunchtime.

"This car has 80,000 miles on it," Rosenfeld announced between puffs, 
stray ash landing softly on the battered towel he drapes over his 
pleated brown trousers and red tie. "I haven't gotten into one accident."

Rosenfeld would smoke five or six more joints by day's end. In 
between, he would trade tens of thousands of dollars in stocks. Some 
days, the broker moves millions around, pausing occasionally to steal 
drags of marijuana from the smokeless vapor pen that tides him over indoors.

Clients have given their blessing to his 10-joint-a-day habit.

So has the Drug Enforcement Administration.

The federal agency at the forefront of the war on drugs is normally 
unyielding in its view that marijuana has no valid medical use. But 
it not only gives permission to Rosenfeld to light up any place 
cigarettes are allowed, but it also acts as his dealer.

Rosenfeld gets that special treatment because he has a rare bone 
disorder that gives him a lot of pain. He is one of only two people 
in the nation still actively involved in a federal program that 
supplies marijuana free to patients suffering from certain diseases.

The government harvests infrequently and Rosenfeld's current stash 
came out of the ground six years ago. Not exactly prime bud. But good 
enough that in three decades he has consumed about 216 pounds - 
hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth - to ease his pain.

"I am getting my money's worth out of my taxes, that's for sure," he 
said. "I am one of the few people in this country who never complains 
about paying them."

The program started in 1976 when Robert Randall of Florida convinced 
a court that pot was essential to treating his glaucoma. Rather than 
open the door to patients growing their own marijuana, drug officials 
chose to supply it to Randall.

Rosenfeld was the next to secure the same deal, and 11 more patients 
would trickle in, including the other patient the government still 
supplies, Elvy Musikka, an Oregonian with glaucoma. A doctor 
authorized by the government to treat Rosenfeld with marijuana writes 
his prescriptions and gives him regular check-ups.

The pot comes from a farm in Mississippi run by the National 
Institute on Drug Abuse, which periodically sends the weed by FedEx 
to Rosenfeld's pharmacy.

The marijuana is rolled tightly into joints that are freeze-dried and 
packed 300 to a container. The joints come with 14 pages of 
instructions on how to properly rehydrate them - most of which 
Rosenfeld ignores. Instead, he unrolls them, moistens their contents 
in plastic bags lined with wet paper towels and later rolls them back 
into joints.

The 10-page federal protocol Rosenfeld carries with him designates 
that he may smoke marijuana with impunity. It says he can drive so 
long as he is not intoxicated.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom