I was really praying that City Attorney Carmen Trutanich and his comrade in arms, Los Angeles County District Attorney Steven Cooley – had a lot better things to do than to focus on closing down medical marijuana dispensaries in the city and the county of Los Angeles.
After all, we have much more pressing issues:
● Gangs killing kids in our streets or forcing them to become members.
● True drug dealers selling much worse and more dangerous venom than “pot.”
● Good business owners murdered by robbers who lust for money.
● Kids who are under the county system dying or getting murdered.
So why then are Cooley and Trutanich so settled on going after marijuana medical dispensaries so sharply? I’ll stoutly put this into perspective for you.
I have multiple sclerosis, a disease that short circuits the central nervous system and can lead to anything from blindness and paralysis – to less severe symptoms, like nausea and extreme fatigue, making it difficult to crawl out of bed.
I have not once used marijuana for medicinal purposes, nor do I plan to. But should the symptoms of intense nausea reappear, I want to maintain the right to do so.
Living under the spell of this mysterious diseases “painful” symptoms, which come and go randomly – or for some people -- never go away at all – makes life miserable, not just for its victim, but for the entire family.
Many with this condition have tremendous amounts of pain, depression and severe nausea … so horrific they can barely stand.
While I’m not having these nausea bouts currently, they have taken me down in the past and can return at any time.
The disease remains as unpredictable as a wild tiger and still the exact causes are not known.
We must face the truth about marijuana: while it’s been a recreational drug used by many for centuries, and absurdly misused, it is in fact an herb with powers to ease a variety of symptoms.
Believe me, if you have a chronic illness like I do, you want the ability to try whatever works.
Marijuana works for many things – especially dulling pain, nausea and anxiety. Cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy find great relief using it.
I understand that there are some dispensaries and many druggies out there who take complete advantage of the state’s voters who in 1996 agreed it should be available legally for medical conditions.
Abusers will always exist – and that should be the true target of the Trutanich-Cooley pact. Their job should be to ensure that it’s regulated carefully – and not abused. Instead, they claim that the Supreme Court ruling last year made marijuana sales as a medicine illegal.
While President Barack Obama has publicly stated that he will overturn the former Bush administration’s decision in the matter as far as a medicinal remedy– Trutanich and Cooley are going out of their way to start shutting down the dispensaries.
Together, they are moving toward charging a Culver City Dispensary and are readying to prosecute the some 800 dispensaries in Los Angeles and others throughout the county.
My question is why? Of all the many issues that face us, why go after this issue when it’s truly in a state of limbo and has been repeatedly had the backing of voters.
What we need to do is come together and accept that once – yes, -- marijuana – was used mostly as a hallucinogenic by thousands of people across the world. And it’s been around since ancient times, being used as food and fiber in China starting from 6000 B.C., according to the website, Marijuana Info.
There’s no question it was used to alter the brain’s chemicals and to get “high,” but as far as a medicine, it can be as powerful as an anti-septic for those of us in crises with life-altering diseases.
When I first was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, I had gone blind in my right eye, believed I was the laziest person in the world, had chronic headaches and exhaustion and was struck by waves of nausea that could take a heavy weight wrestler down.
Having no idea what was going on, I went from one doctor who told me I needed a psychiatrist and to another who told me I had optic neuritis, which caused the blinding in the eye.
After an endless rotation of doctors and a roller-coaster of unforgiving emotions, it was oddly my chiropractor who told me flat out what I had. My physician was too scared to tell me, he admitted later. He wanted me to figure it out myself.
At the time, marijuana was not an option to calm a queasy stomach, but I had it daily like the flu and fought to control it myself while going to work.
I was trying desperately to keep up as a daily news reporter flooded with a batch of bizarre symptoms and an array of endless deadlines, phone calls, emails and editors who rightly so, demanded and needed stories.
What I want people to understand is that waves of nausea can be so intense, that a person undergoing chemotherapy and other medical issues can barely move. Imagine, walking around every day of your life, feeling seasick.
So, we are now at a crossroads. Instead of looking at cannabis like an evil, it’s time to look at the health benefits it offers – for those only who have a doctor dictating they need it.
Why would we deny that to those in pain and ailing?
Why is Canada the most progressive country that initially offered it as a medical drug to help patients in 2003?
While I don’t believe that people should use marijuana for recreational reasons, I can’t stress the necessity of it as a powerful tool for those of us in pain and physical distress.
I also understand why law enforcement wouldn’t be thrilled with making this legal as it blurs the boundaries and makes enforcement more difficult.
However, if you have a medical condition, the use of marijuana as a potential relief factor, can be a life-saver – just to ease suffering.
In reality, it’s probably much safer than the many legal drugs out there used for nausea and pain.
In California –at least right now -- all we need is a doctor’s recommendation to help those ailing from such symptoms. I’m making a powerful argument for this: please don’t take this remedy away. Find other strategies for abusers. Don’t punish those who truly need it.
By Diana L. Chapman
Vol 7 Issue 85
Pub: Oct 16, 2009