[first notes of Star Spangled Banner playing] JC: I think medical marijuana helped me become
a better person; overall, a better individual. It changed my life. Slide says:
A medical Marijuana Patient’s Tale Joseph Casias, Medical marijuana Patient:
“When I first thought I was sick, I lost all my energy. I would cough up blood, and I would
bleed out of my sinus, my nose, constantly. It wouldn’t stop. And they just–they couldn’t
figure out what was wrong with me. One day, I went into the emergency room, and a doctor
told me that I had a form of sinus cancer with a brain tumor. Angie Casias, Joseph’s wife:
He was in a lot of pain, so I would do a lot of things for him. I would get his coffee
ready for him, because he needed that to wake up. I’d help him to get out of bed. I’d have
his stuff ready for him. JC: I weighed 210 pounds in high school, and
I went down to nothing. I went down to nothing but skin and bones. My pain is in the back
of my neck because the tumor has eaten through my bone marrow. I don’t wish it on anybody.
It’s something that you just pray that it’ll go away. I’ve tried liquid Morphine to
Vicodin to Lortab. I had to take pills around the clock, every four hours, and they didn’t
always help. Me and my oncologist talked about it and he felt that medical marijuana would
help me. Which it has. Ezekiel Edwards, ACLU Staff Attorney:
There are between 750,000 and 1,000,000 people in the United States using medical marijuana
to treat serious illnesses such as cancer, aids, and Lou Gerhigs Disease, who are in
great pain and are suffering every day. The medication they’ve been prescribed didn’t
work, and now they’re taking medical marijuana and, finally, for the first time in their
lives some of that pain is relieved and they’re able to actually enjoy fuller, happier,
healthier lives. JC: I felt less pain for sure. The pain went
immediately, just disintegrated. AC: He had his appetite back. He was able
to interact more with us and our children. JC: Now they love to play with their dad.
We play board games and things like that. They love it. Where I didn’t have that relationship
with them before. EE: Nearly 1/3 of states in this country has
passed medical marijuana laws. The Federal government; however, because it treats marijuana
as a Schedule I, meaning the most serious form of narcotic, is criminalizing it’s behavior
and is sending a message to states, to patients, to dispensaries, that they shouldn’t be doing
this; that they are putting themselves at risk for criminal prosecution for getting
the treatment that they need for serious illnesses. Slide says:
Memorandum for United States Attorneys dated June 29, 2011.
Subject highlighted: Guidance Regarding the Ogden Memo in Jurisdictions Seeking to Authorize
Marijuana for Medical Use. Also highlights: marijuana is a dangerous
drug, and sale of marijuana is a serious crime. JC: If they took that away, they’d be hurting
a lot of sick people who rely on this as their medicine. And, it’s not right to take sick
people’s medicine away from them. EE: The ACLU would like to see, first of all,
the drug enforcement agency classify medical marijuana as a less serious drug. Currently,
it is classified as a Schedule I drug, more serious than cocaine, which both impedes the
types of research that people can do to prove the medicinal effects of marijuana, and it
also means that it’s a top enforcement priority of the federal government. Secondly, we would
like the federal government to respect medical marijuana states that recognize the therapeutic
value of marijuana, allow those states to continue to implement state law, and allow
sick people to get the treatment that they need. JC: I would ask the government to please have
some compassion and respect for the sick individuals who are using this as a medication. Learn more, go to: www.aclu.org/medmj Learn more, go to: www.aclu.org/medmj Photos courtesy of :
Rosser321/Flickr Roger Mommaertes/Flickr
Tom Varco/Wikimedia Commons Mjpresson/Wikimedia Commons
Elvert Barnes/Flickr Dominic Simpson/Flickr
Shay Showden/Flickr