HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html First, Do No Harm
Pubdate: Tue, 14 Mar 2017
Source: Toronto Sun (CN ON)
Copyright: 2017 Canoe Limited Partnership
Author: Jerry Agar
Page: 15


For those who believe there is no potential harm from illegal
marijuana stores in the city, consider Shelley Marshall's story.

Marshall is a suicide survivor who wrote and performs her story
through her excellent, one-woman play: Hold Mommy's Cigarette.

She strongly believes in medical marijuana for medicinal purposes and
is for legalization, but with regulations.

Her Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) will never completely
disappear, but, she says: "You can get the symptoms to go away if you
take care of yourself and if you are in the good company of people who

During a recent relapse, Marshall went to a marijuana dispensary for

On my NEWSTALK1010 radio show Monday, she said: "The only thing I had
to do was flash ID, no prescription. I was led in to a room and there
in front of me was an array of marijuana with names like Train Wreck
and Green Crack.

"I was clearly upset, and I said to the woman, I have survived
suicide, it was 18 years ago, but I want to sleep for three days, and
my doctor told me not to do this."

"She said, 'Your doctor is paid by pharmaceuticals.'"

Asked what the qualifications of the woman at the dispensary were,
Marshall said: "I don't know. You're in a desperate way and you just
want to hear what you want to hear."

A medical professional would surely have enquired whether she was on
any other drugs.

She is. Whether that drug should be mixed with marijuana is for a
doctor, not a seller of illegal drugs, to decide.

Marshall said the woman at the dispensary sold her, "Something called
Amnesia", adding, "The next day, I began to feel suicidal. I started
to walk the street and thought maybe I would go to the subway."

She realized she had enough money to get home and, thankfully, did so,
as opposed to ending it all in the subway.

"We go into relapse," Marshall said. "But I am ashamed and embarrassed
this happened to me ... I never want it to happen to anyone else."

Her point is that she supports legalization, but with regulation of
pot production and distribution and with some sort of quality control.

Lawyer Ed Prutschi said: "No sensible person argues that there isn't a
valuable medical use of marijuana. However even if you are going to
use it recreationally, I think Shelley's experience demonstrates that
it's not the kind of thing that can be sold in the same way that a
chocolate bar can be sold. We do need to come up with regulations and
a system, and we need to do it soon."

Dr. Oren Amitay, a registered psychologist, said: "I cannot agree more
that we need proper medical oversight of marijuana prescription.
However, it must be done by professionals with expertise in such
matters, otherwise there is the risk that they will allow personal
ideologies to trump science and fact-based evidence."

Marshall recounted her sense of shame for her mistake on my show, to
which fellow radio panelist Michael Coren said, "There is nothing to
be ashamed of, it is an illness."

Should the people setting up shop to sell a drug they don't monitor
for quality and safety, and who may promote themselves as experts, be
ashamed? Should they be stopped?

And when and how is the Trudeau government going to legalize pot, as
it has promised?
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