Yesterday, we were in county court supporting a patient who wants to continue using medical marijuana while on probation for an alcohol DUI. It was a fascinating and enlightening experience.
After working with Rep. Joseph Salazar and the Colorado legislature over the last two sessions on bills to address the use of medical marijuana on probation, it was valuable for us to get a firsthand look at how it was all playing out in court. It appears that the probation departments are generally opposed saying that cannabis use will interfere in rehabilitation and drug treatment plans, but some judges and prosecutors seem to be coming around. After decades of prohibition, the systemic institutional bias against marijuana runs very deep.
I was proud and honored to be there to speak as an expert about the importance of allowing this patient to continue the medical cannabis therapy that has been so effective for her Crohn’s Disease. Cannabis IS medicine, after all.
As medical marijuana patient myself, I can imagine how I would feel if faced with similar circumstances. After years of successful benefits, the idea of losing access to the one medicine that actually works and being forced to choose between suffering and the side-effects of pharmaceuticals is terrifying. In our opinion, denying a patient access to medicine is cruel and unusual punishment.
Engaging with law enforcement, district attorneys and judges in a conversation about the beneficial use of medical marijuana is what we do, so we were more than willing to continue this conversation in the court room. I’m happy to say that we were able to persuade the judge to wait to make a decision while we gather more information to present at a later hearing.
There is hope.
In the meantime, this patient can continue using her medicine until the judge makes a final ruling.
The grateful hugs and the look of relief on this patient’s face at the end compared with the overwhelming anxiety she was feeling when we arrived made it all worthwhile.
I was moved by the text message I received this morning from her mother who had flown in from another state just to be there for sentencing:
Teri, I just wanted to say another heartfelt THANK YOU to you and Greg for your very generous contribution of time and your investment in others lives including my daughter’s. You really were so effective in communicating important information and your enormous compassion for others shown like a bright light. You were inspiring and made a difference–big one and I am so grateful to you and for you both. Thank you for all you are doing.
We ARE changing hearts and minds one conversation at a time.
It was a very good day.
— Rx MaryJane (Teri Robnett)
Cannabis Patients Alliance is working hard to change hearts and minds one conversation at a time. We can’t do it alone. We need your support! Please DONATE NOW or BECOME AN ALLY so we can continue this important work.
Categories: Advocacy, Colorado, Patients, Policy & Politics, War on Drugs
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