By Pamela Jayne / NUG Magazine / May 17, 2011
Our monthly patient profile [at Nug Magazine]is usually dedicated to telling the story of an individual who benefits from the use of medical cannabis. Due to the recent decision by the San Diego City Council, we have chosen to use this edition to speak on behalf of all patients.
The preamble of the United States Constitution outlines our founding fathers’ intentions of providing all subsequent generations the following: justice, domestic tranquility, common defense, the promotion of general welfare, and the “blessings of liberty.”
In November of 1996, Proposition 215 was voted into law by the people of California by a 56% majority. When considering these two pieces of historical legislation, it’s baffling that our local lawmakers continue to turn a blind eye to the very people who voted them into office, and whose tax dollars pay their ample salaries. It is even more maddening that a certain council member, whose name rhymes with Snarl DeHigho, could not be bothered to give his full attention to the testimonies of patients who depend on safe access to medical cannabis, but instead chose to keep his head firmly stuck up his—uh…I mean glued to his laptop for the majority of the hearing. Not that it would have mattered anyways, since he walked out of the council chambers before the vote was taken. Now that’s the kind of leadership San Diego needs; Snarl DeHigho for mayor!
Obviously, I’m angry. As is the case with most anger, it stems from disappointment, hurt and fear. I am disappointed by the actions of our city council. I’m hurt by the lies, prejudices, and harassment of the anti-medical cannabis faction. I fear for the health and safety of my fellow San Diegans who are in need of reasonable access to their medication.
Thankfully, we have a large network of compassionate and dedicated citizens who gladly take on the various roles necessary to forward our shared cause of safe access to medical cannabis. We have the passionate protesters who loudly chant and carry signs to bring attention to our struggle, and those who spend their days quietly cultivating medicine so that it can be discreetly dispensed by collective operators to qualified patients. It is my role to give medical cannabis patients a platform to share their stories.
For most of them, it is a physically painful ordeal just to make it through the interview. Through labored breathing and slow speech, they describe the difficulties of day to day life that those of us who are blessed to be able-bodied cannot understand. For others, it is emotionally distressing to relive the stories of their accidents, injuries, and illnesses that led them to use cannabis as medicine. I have seen the scars with my own eyes, and I have heard the pain in their voices with my own ears. I have also witnessed the truly miraculous results that this plant has to offer.
It is my hope that you, the reader, will take these stories and share them with someone you know who questions the validity of medical cannabis. Ask them to read the patient profiles in past issues of NUG. Tell them about Mary, Jim, Susan, Phil, and Dave; and how there are thousands of people in San Diego with similar stories. Tell them the truth: that restricted access to medical cannabis will cause pain, suffering, and possibly even death. It will also lead to higher crime rates, which affect us all. As former San Jose Police Chief Joseph McNamara said, “Like an increasing number of law enforcers, I have learned that most bad things about marijuana – especially the violence made inevitable by an obscenely profitable black market – are caused by the prohibition, not by the plant.”
The decision made by our city council, which will force collectives to the outskirts of town via the Land Use Ordinance, is a direct threat to the health and safety of people who are already vulnerable due to illness or injury. These people are patients, not criminals, as some are trying to deceive the public into believing. They range in age from the young to the elderly, and come from culturally and economically diverse backgrounds.
Just because they may not “look sick,” as the naysayers are so eager to point out, does not mean that they do not have a medical issue in need of treatment. Would those people who so vehemently speak in opposition of medical cannabis patients stand outside of a CVS pharmacy and tell perfect strangers that they do not appear to have a medical problem, and therefore do not have the right to have their prescription filled? I think not. So why do they believe it is acceptable to stereotype, discriminate against, and harass medical cannabis patients? No, these are not rhetorical questions. I would really like to know the answers.
Seeing as how the purpose of this article is to give voice to the people who will be most affected by the new city council ruling, I believe it is fitting to end it with quotes straight from the patients themselves:
Ian: “The city council’s continuing persecution of cannabis care providers is a blatant attempt to appeal to a small base of voters in order to deflect attention from their inefficacies in other areas. They are forcing legitimate patients to drive out of town to obtain their medicine, which is their legal right as citizens of California.”
Joann: “Without safe access, I will be in constant pain. I’m upset that people who have never met me think they have the right to tell me how I should manage my pain. Since this ordinance will make it next to impossible for me to get my medicine, I think that every member of the city council should stop taking whatever medications they are prescribed. Maybe then they would understand.”
Jason: “The city council is showing very little compassion. This ordinance affects a wide variety of people, as well as several businesses.”
Marshall: “It is wrong to restrict access to any kind of medication.”
Dave: “Without safe and convenient access to medical cannabis to ease the effects of my lymphoma and spherocytosis, I guess I’ll go back to throwing up all the time. Thanks city council! Will you at least send someone over to help me clean it up?”*
*Sorry Dave, but the city council seems to be better at making messes than cleaning them up.