Heather Torgerson, a survivor of brain cancer is well-qualified to speak about the efficacy of medical marijuana. Speaking of her chemotherapy treatment, she said, “although it worked, I became deathly ill, I was to the point where my next round of chemo, I probably wouldn’t be able to take because my white blood cell count was too low, my weight was dropping too fast, I wasn’t healthy enough.”
Ms Torgerson’s doctor had exhausted all legal options to help her avoid both nausea and pain; so she found her “own way” – medical marijuana. Ms Torgerson’s weight began to increase because she was able to eat and now, cancer-free for two years, she continues monthly chemotherapy treatments. She also continues to use marijuana, which has to be purchased illegally through friends.
“I am the face of a patient standing here because of the use of medical marijuana,” said Torgerson. “I would much rather not live every day in fear that if I have my medical marijuana on me that I could go to jail. Her position is ironic, to say the least; she wrote a paper in college against the use of marijuana, even for medical purposes, “because I did not know what it would be like to be on the other side of the fence.”
Torgerson lives in Arizona and it may be that, before very long, she will be able to use cannabis legally.
Backers of a plan to let doctors provide written recommendations for marijuana turned in petitions Wednesday with what they said are about 252,000 signatures in support of the plan. That is nearly 100,000 more than need to be found valid to put the question on the November ballot and will add Arizona to the growing number of states where it is legal to use medical marijuana.
Campaign manager, Andrew Myers, offers words of caution, however. He said there could be no more than 120 dispensaries for medical marijuana set up in the entire state. And they would have to operate as non-profit entities. The Arizona law spells out what ailments and conditions qualify a patient, ranging from AIDS and chemotherapy treatment to severe and chronic pain.
Of special note is the fact that the new law would offer protection against employees who are medical marijuana patients from being fired solely because they test positive for the drug while on the job. Instead, a worker could be fired only if the company could show the person was actually smoking the drug on the job or actually impaired.
Arizonans voted in 1996 to let doctors prescribe marijuana and other illegal drugs to serious and terminally ill patients. But that measure never took effect after the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration threatened to revoke all prescription-writing privileges of any physician who wrote such an order. The new measure allows doctors to provide written recommendations rather than formal prescriptions, thus getting around that problem.
Virtually all the funding for the initiative comes from the Marijuana Policy Project, a national group whose goals include legalizing the drug for everyone.
Full details on how to get a medical marijuana card in Arizona.