By Jennifer Wallace – Medical Marijuana Patient New Brunswick, Canada
It’s unacceptable how ignorance tends to guide the majority of society, especially in a country that boasts “Freedom” as a worldwide concept.
Today I speak of the Canadian Medial Marijuana Law, and I extend a sincere request that anyone reading this will open their mind to the bigger picture.
I do not ask you to change your beliefs, nor do I expect you to fully understand what I am about to say… However, I do request one thing of you, please think about my words. Do not judge or condemn, simply think about my words and consider them for the truth behind them.
I am a Medical Marijuana patient. I produce my own medicine and I am a functioning member of society because of it. I can not speak for all Medical Marijuana patients; however I can speak of what I know, and what you already know as well.
A program on TV this evening told a story of how a western Canadian was found growing more Marijuana than his Medical Marijuana license allowed. The com-mentary merged through rehearsed perception of how the Medical Marihuana Access Regulations (MMAR) were not working, therefore government will be meeting again on July 31st, 2011 to review the program. One proposal is that all Medical Marijuana patients will be forced into purchasing their medicine from a designated government appointed growing facility.
Currently Med Me (a Western Canadian supplier) charges $165 per bag and the patient is required to pay shipping and handling, bringing the cost to over $200 per bag. This is extremely expensive for someone functions within an already tight budget. Therefore if the govern-ment is considering forcing Canadians into purchasing their medicine from such a supplier, they should first ensure that insurance companies are on board to help cover the cost of their medicine.
I’m sure there were numerous people watching that same broadcast agreeing with the commentary, that indeed the program isn’t working. I’m also certain that those same people feel that the Medical Marijuana Program should be banned. Yet for just a moment let’s put the shoe on the other foot.
What if your father uses OxyContin for his bad back?
Or your sister uses Percocet for her bad knee? Or your grandmother uses Morphine to sooth the pain of her can-cer? Think for a moment that all because a crook began to fraud the system by selling these items on the street the government decided to ban the medication that helped your loved one. Would this be fair? Would this decision be justified, considering it was merely one person that performed the crime, and yet every man, woman and child must suffer the wrath? This certainly doesn’t seem justified within me and I only hope that it would not you as well.
This is exactly the scenario for Medial Marijuana patients. We are all being labeled with guilty intent and therefore are all being punished by society, the law and our so called Great Nation even though we do not all operate with ill intent.
I agree that if that man broke the law and had more plants in his possession than what his license permitted, then that man should be punished within the boundaries of our legal system. What I do not agree with is the fact that we all must lose privileges because of his ignorant selfish act.
As with any legal operation, there is risk and possibility that someone will attempt to cheat the system. There will always be people prescribed narcotics that choose to sell them on the street rather than legitimately require them for their health. There will always be “Bootleggers” that resell liquor, CD’s, cigarettes, etc. for a profit, and yet the government, Health Canada, or private citizens do not request that those items be removed and banned from our culture. Just the same, there will always be individuals that sell marijuana, regardless if it is legal, illegal, or pre-sumably used for medicine. This is the hard core truth, and you and I both know it.
Due to multiple health issues I have used marijuana for nearly a decade. As with many Medical Marijuana patients, this was not the first option that I explored. For many years I trialed different pharmaceutical products that either made me hallucinate, drained my emotions, or to a degree tormented me more than my original ailments. After becoming a bit hopeless that I would never learn to cope with my ailments and remain a productive citizen, my father suggested that I smoke marijuana. Being a chronic user himself, I seen first hand the benefits that he obtained by using it. My father was an extremely ill man; suffering from polycystic kidney disease which led him to a kidney transplant in 1990. Unfortunately rheumatoid arthritis also invaded him leaving a tattered soul that suf-fered gravely each day.
So on the advice of my father; I began consuming mari-juana nearly every day since 2002. I was amazed at how my pain diminished, my focus improved and joy was felt more often than before. Marijuana allowed me to relax, something that was extremely difficult while in pain. In the morning I did not suffer a “hangover” as one feels while using Amitriptyline. I could finally sleep through the night and actually feel good in the morning. My appetite had also improved and overall I felt better.
In December of 2008 my father passed away. Not only did I lose a great father and wonderful friend, I also lost my supply of marijuana. Yes my father grew his own medicine, not through the Medical Marijuana Program, but through his own belief that one is entitled to medically treat themselves through medicine from the earth. I did not condemn my father for what he believed, nor did I judge him. Instead I was proud of him for not denying himself simple pleasures in life that without marijuana he did not have. Despite his crippled up hands and feet from the rheumatoid arthritis, and his deteriorating back, knees and elbows, my father was able to smile, and even laugh from time to time because of marijuana. This to me meant more than any discriminatory thought, law or judgment that one may have.
For over a year after my father’s death, I was forced into buying marijuana on the streets. I was not proud to be seen at destinations known as “drug dealers”, nor did I like the expense it imposed on me. There was also the fact that at times what I was purchasing was not what my body required to feel relief. You see, my father grew naturally; he did not use hydroponics or added chemicals to his medicine. This was what I needed, organic medi-cine. Buying it on the streets led me to purchase hydro-ponically grown, unbeknown until I began consuming it. By that time it was too late as the effects would hit me instantly. It was as though I was having an allergic reac-tion, I experienced difficulty breathing and the feeling of panic and paranoia consumed me. My only explanation of such a reaction is that the chemicals people use grow-ing hydroponically affects me in a negative way. For this reason I ceased pursuing marijuana on the streets, for about six months.
Within this six month time frame I lost my appetite, which caused a nearly 50 pound weight loss. My sleep became broken which caused me to increasingly over-sleep for work. Severe anxiety invaded me, likely second-ary to poor nutrition and sleep deprivation and I had to begin taking Hydrochlorothiazide for high blood pres-sure. I was at the brink of collapse and for the first time in my life I, as well as my family was afraid for my life due to my deteriorating health.
I thought about growing my own medicine as my father had, however I was not as brave as he, for I feared losing my home and my job. Fortunately I learned of the Medical Marijuana Program and instantly knew that I
had discovered the only opportunity that I had to feel good once more. After consulting with a specialist, he felt confident that Medical Marijuana would indeed help me with my ailments. His belief offered me the freedom to grow my own medicine, organically the way it need it. It also confirmed that I never again needed to pursue my medicine illegally on the street.
Since receiving my license for Marijuana, my anxiety has subsided, I have maintained my weight (even gained a few pounds), I am once again sleeping through the night and fortunately I have been able to cease my Hydrochlorothiazide as my blood pressure has resumed normal.
Therefore when I hear that the program “isn’t work-ing”, I can’t help but wonder, it “isn’t working for whom?” For ignorant bias individuals that believe mar-ijuana is bad only because their parents instilled the thought within them? Or for the drug lords that lose substantial amounts of profit from people growing their own?
In one sense the program isn’t working, and by this I mean that it is unjust that Medical Marijuana patients must suffer through nearly a year waiting period prior to obtaining their own medicine. You see, unlike many who can obtain a prescription for Dilaudid, go to the pharmacy and have their prescription within minutes, Medical Marijuana patients must wait a nearly five month waiting period for Health Canada to “Process” their application. Even though Health Canada merely issues the authorization based on the doctor’s recom-mendations, they still make you wait. Once you receive your license, you must then wait another four months for your medicine to grow. So why should we suffer, simply because we choose earthly remedies versus phar-maceutical junk that cause more side effects than the original problem?
As stated above, I am not attempting to convince you that marijuana is “good for all”, nor am I expecting you to change your opinion of using it yourself. What I am asking you is to look beyond your own beliefs and con-sider that what works for one person may not work for all. Consider that not all people engaged in a program are attempting to fraud it. Consider: is it fair to force someone to use Advil when only Tylenol works for them? Furthermore, is it fair to take away someone’s freedom, which will ultimately force them into illegal acts such as purchasing their medication on the streets? But most of all consider the fact that every freedom that a small majority loses, the vast majority will ultimately suffer the consequences.
And at the end of the day remember that the only question that needs to be asked is “Does one bad apple really spoil the whole bunch?”