Because my weight is down to 63 pounds, and there are many other patients like me who can’t afford to wait.
As a 28-year-old battling muscular dystrophy, I've been fighting for my life since I lost my ability to walk at age 13.
I know from personal experience that medical marijuana works for me, having spent a summer in California several years ago. In the months that I was able to use it legally, I gained more than 10 pounds and was able to stop taking prescription pain medicines altogether. There is no cure for my condition, but medical marijuana relieves my pain and stimulates my appetite, dramatically improving my quality of life when I'm able to use it.
I have been asking New Hampshire legislators to allow patients like me to use medical marijuana for nearly a decade, and it finally appears that a medical marijuana bill is going to pass this year. Unfortunately, it appears this law may not be of any benefit to patients like me who are fighting for our lives.
HB 573, which passed overwhelmingly with over 80% support in the House, allows patients to access medical marijuana from one of five state-regulated alternative treatment centers or grow up to three cannabis plants for their own use. The House version of the bill also includes an affirmative defense that patients could raise in court so that they won’t be thrown in jail during the 19 months it will take for the health department to begin issuing ID cards.
The home grow option and full affirmative defense are very important because a patient or caregiver would be able to start growing this summer rather than waiting until at least 2015 for legal protections and access. Sadly, bowing to pressure from the police chiefs’ association, Gov. Maggie Hassan has now insisted that home cultivation be removed from the bill, meaning that patients will have no choice but to buy marijuana from criminals. Her administration also requested changes gutting the affirmative defense so that patients would have no legal protections at all until ID cards are available in late 2014 or early 2015.
This means patients will continue to suffer without legal access to marijuana and with no legal protections. Frankly, I do not expect to live another two years, so for me, this may as well be a death sentence.
Patients in Maine, Vermont, and lots of other states are allowed to cultivate their own plants, and many states have provided protections for patients while regulations are being crafted. Patients like me are NOT criminals, and we should be free to grow our own medicine in the “Live Free or Die” state. Please sign our petition and tell Gov. Hassan patients can’t afford to wait!
Additionally, please call her office at 603-271-2121 and let her know how you feel about this!