By Ron Crumpton
A few weeks ago, Alabama Medical Marijuana Coalition had a picnic at Rhodes Ferry Park in Decatur. As usual, I spoke to many patients. There was one story that really got to me.
I met a man who had just happened by on his bicycle, saw the AMMJC sign and decided to stop and talk. The man had been diagnosed with cervical spine disease; due to this, he suffered from seizures, and was no longer able to work.
He had been turned down for disability, and was waiting for his appeal. The man told me that he had no home to call his own, he was staying with friends when he could, and on the streets when he could not.
As we talked, I learned that his physical problems were not the only challenges this man had to face. He had been diagnosed as being manic-depressive with suicidal tendencies, after his four-year-old son was murdered in 2002.
He told me that he suffered from allergic reactions to codeine, and was unable to take many pain medications. Most of the other medications that he was taking for muscle spasms, appetite, sleep, depression and seizures made him ill, and to make things worse, years of taking these medications had damaged the lining of his stomach, caused him to develop a tumor and a hernia.
He said that out of all the medications he had received over the years, nothing had helped him more than smoking marijuana.
At the end of the day, he asked me for my address. I had asked people to send emails to their legislators and write letters to the editors of their local newspapers, he said that he did not have access to a computer, but that he would write a letter, mail it to me and I could just do what needed to be done with it.
This past Saturday, while we were in Muscle Shoals at the Shoals Fleamarket, AMMJC Co-President Chris Butts gave me a letter that had been delivered to the AMMJC address, and much to my surprise, it was from him.
As I sat reading the letter, I cried like a baby — much as I am doing now. I thought to myself, this man is not only battling his disease and an experience that would have killed most of us, he is also fighting the fact that he cannot work and has virtually no support system behind him.
I am going to share that letter with you now, for the time being I am holding the name of the man because I had no way to contact him to let him know my intentions of doing this blog post.
Everybody wants to bitch about paying taxes; everybody wants to worry about themselves, but we allowed this man to fall through the cracks.
It is our fault.
But he wrote his letter. He stood up for himself and others, and it is time that we stand up for him and people like him.
If America is truly the greatest nation in the world, we cannot allow this to happen to our citizens. We are better than that.