Thursday, March 4, 2010

Medical Marijuana Patient Says Drug Changed Her Life

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is receiving
about 500 new requests everyday for medical marijuana cards and the
applications have completely back-logged the system.

There is concern about the number of people getting these cards from
both the opposition and proponents of Amendment 20. The health
department says they estimate that they have received about 60,000
applications as of the end of February. Some lawmakers say the law is
being abused and are trying to pass restrictions. Those potential
restrictions are causing concern for many patients who say they need the

Every day, Pauline Archuleta's health seems to improve. "I have been
getting better," Pauline said.

She's been slowly recovering since a brain aneurysm put her in a coma
back in 2007. "I couldn't even walk hardly `cause I was paralyzed on
[one] side," Pauline said.

And while she was in the hospital doctors discovered she had six more
un-ruptured aneurysms. "I was always sick and in pain, my head was
always hurting," Pauline said.

She says pain pills didn't help. "I was on so many pills, about five
different seizure medications," she said.

"I was kind of running out of options of what to do and taking her to
doctors and doctors all the time," said Pauline's husband Marvin.
Desperate for relief, Pauline decided to try medical marijuana. About
six months ago she saw a doctor in Colorado Springs who gave her a
medical marijuana referral. She's been legally buying and using the drug
ever since.

Her husband, Marvin is brought to tears talking about the progress she
has made. "I couldn't take her nowhere, I had to be with her all the
time," Marvin said. He says within weeks of when Pauline started using
marijuana he noticed a change. "Within a month she started showing signs
of getting better, like standing and walking on her own," Marvin said.

Pauline says she uses the drug like she used her pain pills. A few times
a day she smokes some, or drinks tea made from the stems. "Medical
marijuana has helped me to be able to live my life the way I'm supposed
to now," Pauline said.

She buys her medicine from a dispensary and feels very fortunate she can
get the drug easily, but she's concerned about the number of people who
are getting licensed. "The people that need it should be the only
ones that can get it," Pauline said.

She's afraid that restrictions being considered by lawmakers right now,
to crack down on recreational users who get a card they might not
medically need, may take her access away.

"I don't know what I would do if I might have to go on the street and
get it and I don't want to do that," Marvin said. But he says he'll make
those illegal buys if it comes to that. Medical marijuana has given
Pauline parts of her life back and neither of them wants to lose what
they have now.

Lawmakers are considering two bills dealing with medical marijuana.
Senate Bill 109 would regulate the doctor - patient relationship. It
would bar doctors from writing recommendations inside dispensaries that
sell medical marijuana and requires a full physical exam before
recommending marijuana for patients. SB 109 passed the State House
Wednesday, but still faces a final State Senate vote because of an
amendment. Another bill, State House Bill 1248, which would regulate
dispensaries, will be introduced Thursday in the House. To read the
complete bills, you can click on the links below.

Right now in Colorado Springs there are about 40 dispensaries. The city
is still working on an ordinance regulating their operation. Meanwhile,
Pueblo has placed a moratorium on dispensaries until June.

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