Colorado medical marijuana advocates call for full legalization

Medical marijuana advocates Wednesday evening called for the full legalization of marijuana in Colorado, saying that until the drug 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 crowd of patients and advocates at a meeting in Denver.

He and other attorneys said that law enforcement officials, legislators and state officials will never really act as if anyone has a right to use marijuana until it is made legal for everyone.

“They are treating patients like criminals instead of the sick people we are,” said Laura Kriho of the Cannabis Therapy Institute.

While there was no shortage of attorneys and activists at the meeting complaining about what they view as the illegality of legislators and bureaucrats making changes to how medical marijuana is handled in Colorado, one attorney in particular brought the house down with her personal story of using medical marijuana.

Longmont attorney Kristy Martinez described herself as a serious and successful attorney until one day a few years ago her law practice had to take a back seat to her health.

“Everything got derailed in June of 2005 when I was diagnosed with the life threatening condition of breast cancer. 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. I can’t tell you how traumatizing it was for me. Doctors said I had the most aggressive, chaotic and unpredictable form of cancer.

“I would need aggressive therapy,” she told the hushed crowd.

“Because I had an infant at home, I wanted to make sure I did everything I could to survive. I found myself out of the court and into the doctor’s office.

“I’m kind of girl scout; I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, I don’t do any drugs, I’m super ethical and I’m proud of it.

“I went into my first series of chemotherapy–rejecting any form of non-traditional treatment–and went to my first hit and they gave me the most aggressive form of chemotherapy that was available and told me I might not make it. I vomited 40 times that night and my mother–who is a seasoned emergency room nurse–had to call 911 because I vomited until I collapsed. The next treatment, which was 21 days later, they had to medicate me to get me into the doctor’s office, which for those of you who know me, I’m not afraid of anything, and I couldn’t go. At that point the doctor, who is one of the most prominent, well respected medical directors of one of the largest cancer centers in Colorado, said I needed to use medical marijuana. He said I will not make it through another round of chemo without it.

“I had months of therapy to do. I used THC. I got a prescription and I never vomited again.

“I can talk about the Constitution until I turn green but when you talk about patients’ access and you talk about the constitutionality of that, you talk about a Colorado Supreme Court rejecting to intervene to make sure patients get access to this treatment… It is the difference between a mother and her infant living and dying. 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. 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.

“It is the difference between living and dying and that is why I was so profoundly disappointed in the Supreme Court’s dismissal. Patients needs access. For me it was the difference between living and dying. I really do believe that patients need access to this treatment.”

She and others say patient access is in jeopardy because of rules that allow cities and counties to not allow dispensaries and because of patient fears that their medical marijuana records are not really confidential.

“Medical marijuana is the safest therapeutic substance known to man. There is no lethal dosage known,” said attorney Andrew Reid, who’s suit was just rejected by the Colorado Supreme Court.

Scot Kersgaard has been managing editor of a political newspaper, editor and co-owner of a ski town newspaper, executive editor of eight high-tech magazines (where he worked with current Apple CEO Tim Cook), deputy press secretary to a U.S. Senator, and an outdoors columnist at the Rocky Mountain News. He has an English degree from the University of Washington. He was awarded a fellowship to study internet journalism at the University of Maryland's Knight Center for Specialized Journalism. He was student body president in college. He spends his free time hiking and skiing.

2 COMMENTS

  1. please a lawyer with a big stick for help in advocacy please.Mr jones I wrote the following accounts. They are true and after such abuse who would be willing to consider further medical treatment here after it? Help!

    6-11-2016

    6-10-2016. My name is Robert Nelson and my needs are not being met Now.
    Approximately Dec2nd 2015 while splitting firewood I tore my right rotator cuff in two places and wedged a vertebrae where all the the weight from my arms bears. A later X-ray and MRI confirm this and the 4 herniated disc into spinal process. There is more in the way of advanced degenerative disc disease as observed and noted in 2002 or 2001 by Dr. Mcfarland, the comp doc and my primary both,when I suffered a whiplash injury while employed by the city of Trinidad. 5 previous back injuries. Floored for 3 weeks approximately until firewood ran out someone put me up on a mattress on the floor in their garage. Approximately New Years went to ER unable to bear pain entered the ER . Triage and admissions , I needed them to write as my right arm was useless. In treatment room and waiting two nursing staff entered gloving up and laughing. I asked then who they were as they did not state this or their business entering. Response nurse and aid. Was asked what problem,responded my nerves were on fire. The nurse replied ooo ours are too. Having mocked my major complaint of current pain did not demonstrate professional behavior worthy of confidence for me. I refused treatment and went to administration found someone to discuss the ethic, efficacy of staff behavior. Spoke with someone representing the administration told them how unacceptable staff behavior was and seems like a training issue to me to which he agreed. He walked me back down for readmission. Treatment room get examined by doc he stated he could plainly see the swelling entire right upper quadrant. Revealed my mmj use for pain management and desire to not use opiates as they kill people. Requested a non narcotic muscle relaxant effective in past for me. He offered a shot of Toradal which I gladly accepted and he left with the accompanying nurse. The “accompanying” nurse returned to administer shot. I inquired if it was IM and she stated they put it in your leg. This whole time she was digging between the major muscles of my left thigh. This was very uncomfortable now as she pulled what appeared to be a cord like mass. She was holding this in her fingers so I suggested my backside stating I was clean freshly showered, plenty for an IM shot. When she stuck me in the corded mass she held, my leg went straight an stiff. She turned and looked at me said sorry, seeing she was seeking a response I provided none. My need met. Thankful for the fast action of the medication and finally receiving what met my need. Fell asleep in less than 5-10 minutes. Awakened after, I was wheeled to x Ray. The tech there pushed on my injury while positioning for task. I asked her not to push on me there. She did it again harder in very short order and I told her that she was pushing on my major complaint please stop pushing on me. When in short order she repeated her action I told her to no longer place her hands on me. The tech replied well how can I do my job then? I told her that she was welcome to provide instructions as I better than a trained ape. This whole ordeal while standing for approx. 20 minutes on the clock wth the nerve in my left leg ” lit up” and tears pouring out eyes. Did some table film also but only after lying down and resting first, short of breath and exhausted. Wheeled back to treatment room. Waited. Doc returned after or with films smiling and stating that I will be one of those hunched over old men. Should go to Hospital clinic for follow up. Left.I asked a passing staff to find out if ok for shoulder splinting as slings were in storage on shelf in sight. When she returned with a yes and helping get it set on me it seemed not much longer before I was released. Of the prescribed opiates I could only find someone to give me enough money to copay for 10 and the non narcotic muscle relaxant was not covered so 10 of those could afford to accommodate balance for need and purchase. During the entire time I was there I was told 4 four times from staff “we are just a small hospital.” So long as people believe that and use it to excuse themselves from the responsibilities of professional standard of care there is no incentive for progressive change even through education. A social worker who was unable to address any needs was thrown my way wasting my time and energy with absolutely nothing constructive to meet needs. Nothing to inspire confidence another dim bulb to which not to entrust the abuse. To this date have used 5 pills from each prescription.
    Went to clinic when recuperated enough to manage the chore.
    Requested information about doctors in practice and approached the subject of mmj card and pain management. Informed no doctors there would manage like this, hand tied administratively. Confronted with irrational bias,typical cannabis bias, not being based in the realities of meeting needs of others,no declared scientific acceptance that it does meet needs or incorporation into current healthcare I strongly felt no confidence in the practice. My need real and the system created to meet people’s needs unwilling to cross barriers to meet it.
    More actions suggestive of hospital / healthcare systemic bias and incompetence to be revealed in next installment. My needs are still unmet. Who else does this staff hurt? How often? What are you going to do about it? My name is Robert Nelson and this is the rest of my experience with the regional healthcare system’s practices suggestive of abuse.

    Now for the rest of the story
    In January 2016
    Was moved from garage floor to home of person who offered help with smile. This being in close proximity to Mount Carmel emergency care center decided to try seek to meet need here. Saw a nurse practitioner named Jay. During visit I let him know how uncomfortable I was with physical therapy until assured diagnostically safe to do so. I was informed on this visit he would make a referral to Colorado Brain and Spine institute. Being short of breath some time now and with profound injuries it was pleasing to have my need heard and a positive step toward a better prognosis up to date. Additionally informed during pain management/ history discussion that while Jay could prescribe Medical Marijuana in New Mexico his hands were tied by his employers administrative guidelines/ policy at Mount Carmel. This is within the regional healthcare system. During weekend following visit I wrote a positive open letter recounting experience with Jay and mount Carmel.The weekend and a couple of days into the following week I called Mount Carmel as the expected call had not come from them to me first. Was informed Jay no longer worked there. Would have to make appointment for alternate nurse practitioner, wait a week. Wait for appointment go. The nurse practitioner took a lot of notes, refused to do physical exam stating she had what she needed already. She filled out an A&D form for social services.asked me about going to physical therapy, provided no post visit orders or instructions. Told me to get mri.. Could not tell me if safe or not for Physical Therapy. Asked me what my emergency was and since day one Short Of Breath/unbearable painful breathing. No one took responsibility to bring up why the previous plan was scrapped, the 800 lb gorilla in the room. The practitioner took notes, counted meds at my request. Made mri appointment before leaving office. And asked about appointment after mri. They did not give one. Left. By approximately end of January had the Mri and picked up radiologists report myself. Surprised the radiologist attempts to assess pain levels referencing imaging alone,absent updated patient input.He was obviously mistaken, pain levels are excruciating and experience numbness in fingertips. Changes occur related to movement,activity,my c&t spine injuries are tender and horridly unstable. Often I find with activity the nerves wind up parked on causing nervous system changes. I have made the attempt to request advocacy as I deal with a deficit resulting from lightening strike in approximately spring of 2006. Still no advocacy

    Medical Marijuana Refugees entering Colorado who seek healing here. They have come from indifferent to hostile state political systems still persecuting people denying them the liberty to heal and treat conditions. Often socioeconomically these systems are relying on the status quo of (greed based)drug war laws and typical Cannabis bias that are being found scientifically irrelevant. A whole class of people is victimized, oppression occurs, is sanctioned. Medical Marijuana Refugees DO need protection from the continued medical, insurance, CDPHE and pharmaceutical sectors collaborative bias to maintain $ and control,the same cannabis bias people are fleeing into our state to escape from. The will of Colorado voters has clearly mandated Cannabis’s use in what clearly elevates quality of life for many associated with little risk. Stop the lies and administrative loopholing. What the regional healthcare system here has displayed within the scope of my own personal experience is deeply disturbing for someone who lives in a state that chronically underserves the needs of poor. What is more disturbing for example is how they consider their efforts as doing an “ok job “when Colorado is ranked 45th in nation in meeting food needs and Las Animas County has the distinction of under serving those qualified for their needs to be met for food through assistance program by 29%. Not so ok if one is hungry. Much room for improvement, and trying to sell the less than mediocre results of their labor to the constituents of Colorado is considered law of diminishing returns. We will not desensitize now to accept spin. Get real get to on meeting needs. Thanks for what you do ok, though self performance evaluations, no no. You owe those who are unable to adequately have a voice accountability not diminishing resources, the devaluation of and diminishing returns on human dignity. 29%= 3 out of 10 people, neighbors, we observe with this need. This world will be a better place when there is room for all people’s needs to be met at the same time. Bit by bit, step by step we all have room for improvement. Those who get paid to serve needs keep your eyes on improving meeting needs better than ok. Ok job? Anyone can be replaced.
    Abused in system and a whole group of people too. My medical needs are front and center unaddressed. There is more for medical evaluation but only if waiting past 6 months from start of assessment does not kill one off first is it of value. This happens to people and an audit of the ER admissions and subsequent follow up care needs calling. Expose the practices employed by a corporation maximizing it’s potential profits while reducing it’s liability in treating the poor. Speak for those oppressed whose voice is inadequate enough to defend against institutionalized indifference. Really it is just violence and abuse to fail systemically without planning for success when meeting needs. Robert Kippling Nelson.
    200 East Elm st.
    Trinidad, Colorado 81082.
    719-680-4587 pay by minute 38 minutes left. so if you contact text is better no voicemail please. Limited. Email ok too.

    On Jun 13, 2016, at 1:45 PM, Jones, Andrew wrote:

    Dear Mr. Nelson,

    I wanted to let you know that I received your voicemail last Friday. I would suggest reaching out to the Durango District Office—they will be able to resolve your medical issues.

    The Durango office number is 970-259-1490. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to email me back or you could call our DC office, which is 202-225-4761.

    Best,

    Andrew Jones

    Rep. Tipton

  2. Fwd: Follow up to letter sent in.
    If you want peace Work for justice Attachment 6/16/16 Photos
    To: news@kktv.com

    Outlook.com Active View
    1 attachment (1554.8 KB)
    Click for Options

    Download as zipSave to OneDrive
    Need to start petitions. Peace
    my letters of concerns, grievances and request for help and still no closer to a competent physician surgeon to help gain life back from that chronic pain. Peace Robert Nelson

    Took awhile to write, here goes. I have some bias after my experience. Will be happy when everyone’s need can be met at the same time, for a peaceful world. I have workplace experience as icu nurse aid, emt, first responder asst instructor and red cross instructor. Someone please show through investigation and extrajudicial audit that other people are not suffering as I or worse. At 52 I see healing for others with special needs. Many have flocked here and the opportunity to learn medically is going to waste as The same biases by healthcare providers in the 70s & 80s are arrogantly being upheld now in spite of knowledge. The profit model does not serve medical needs well and is Cdphe really representing the will and interests of Colorado voters as mandated by ballot and initiative. Back to bleeding,leaches,spells and oppression, greed kills. With the laundry list of medical issue I have not base lining a blood test screams neglect and incompetence to serve needs. If this is how insurance and med. system corporations reduce liability by denial of services then let us as a standard extend them no confidence without full accountability. Robert Kippling Nelson
    6-16-2016
    my letter has gone to governor, 2 news stations, state health department for hospital complaint and that crummy hospital. My needs concern me. I am seeing what doctors ignore and miss is the confidence people feel that can be placed in their physicians. I am defining this as i have heard others very relevant navigation’s through available services stories.People’s needs won’t be met directly relational to physician confidence issue. Cannabis that is effective for a patient and they claim it works for them, then it does plain and simple. Physicians who do not take patients seriously do so at the peril of eroding their relevance as healers. If physicians primary vocation is outweighed by judgmental elements, corporate concerns then the challenge of discovery, innovation and empathy are receding from a once far more civil society at large.This consideration left ignored, the bias is institutionally codified by regulatory law and practice. Healing is what people seek. Doctors practices limited to pallative care with no wellness wholelistic approach limit, reduce total scope of practice and effective community outreach. Singled out cannabis users who are at mercy of antiquated bias notions no longer supported by science or violence of biased anecdotal support rooted in prohibitionists values need progressive change .. Targeted for judgmental behavior in meeting needs by agencies serving those in need of help and at that mercy.. time to get out of dark ages adapting to overcome the bias with research and acceptance of cannabis’s efficacy in the everyday lives of people. do this medically to remove stigma. Why can i not use cannabis as pain medicine in city housing or some other services? The officials who keep the things rigged must have figured out how peaceful people, well most people do not wish to be meddled with for the privilege of asking for help in meeting our own needs. This can make it harder. Why not raise the evolutionary bar by not shaming the fragile. It will be a much more peaceful world when there is room for everyone’s needs to be met at the same time. I encourage you or anyone else to mobilize this relevant issue and it is right now for our times. Moral judgement does not meet all humans most basic of needs and is a barrier in language,empathy,security, civil society and civil society’s ongoing effort to support life by valuing enough to actively participate meeting compassionately needs of the least. In essence this is part of the Canary in a Coal Mine to indicate how dangerously close we stand upon the precipice to maintain or loosen our commitment to humane principled intention in meeting everyone’s needs at the same time. Ours to employ our choice of intention to practice. People work hard to beguile others this empowerment and those in the most vulnerable position need your voices to be heard. Greed kills
    Kipp Nelson

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