|Graphic: Patient & Caregiver Rights Litigation Project|
Medical marijuana advocates Wednesday evening called for the full legalization of marijuana in Colorado, saying that until cannabis is fully legal, it will always be stigmatized and patients will be subject to harassment.
“No patient is really safe until it is legalized for everyone,” attorney Robert J. Corry told the patients and advocates at a meeting in Denver, reports Scot Kersgaard at The Colorado Independent.
Corry and other attorneys said law enforcement officials, lawmakers and other officials will never really act as if anyone has a right to use marijuana until it is made legal for all.
“They are treating patients like criminals instead of the sick people we are,” said Laura Kriho of the Cannabis Therapy Institute.
Advocates said patient access is in jeopardy in Colorado because of rules that allow cities and counties to ban dispensaries, and because of patient fears that their medical marijuana records are not really confidential.
One attorney in particular brought the house down with her personal story of using medical marijuana.
Longmont lawyer Kristy Martinez described herself as a serious and successful attorney until one day a few years ago when her health took precedence over her law practice.
“Everything got derailed in June of 2005 when I was diagnosed with the life-threatening condition of breast cancer,” Martinez said. “I went for a regular check-up — I was going to try and have my second child, and I was diagnosed and had a double mastectomy within 72 hours.”
“I found myself facing in 18 months what would result in four surgeries,” Martinez said. “I can’t tell you how traumatizing it was for me. Doctors said I had the most aggressive, chaotic and unpredictable form of cancer.”
After she became unable to stand any more of her aggressive chemotherapy regimen, her doctor, one of the most respected medical directors of one of the largest cancer centers in Colorado, told her she needed to use medical marijuana.
“He said I will not make it through another round of chemo with it,” Martinez said. “I had months of therapy to do. I used THC. I got a prescription and never vomited again.”
“It is the difference between a mother and her infant living and dying,” Martinez said. “I believe it was the access to THC that allowed me to eat and allowed me not to vomit.”
“After surviving that type of treatment, I never used medical marijuana again,” Martinez said. “It is just not my deal. I used it for medical purposes and it saved my life, and I will fight for the constitutional right for another patient to use it until I can’t breathe.”
“Patients need access,” Martinez said. “For me it was the difference between living and dying. I really do believe that patients need access to this treatment.”
“Medical marijuana is the safest therapeutic substance known to man,” said attorney Andrew Reid. “There is no lethal dosage known.”