Patients struggle with legalized marijuana rules

January 22, 2007

Jeff Humphrey, KXLY4 TV (Spokane)

Back in 1998 Washington voters passed an initiative giving people who suffer from certain types of diseases the right to use and possess small amounts of marijuana.

But now even nine years later those same patients struggling to make sure if they get the treatments they need they won't wind up here in court.


Pam Murch is a former advertising executive stricken with multiple sclerosis and scoliosis. After trying pain killers and muscle relaxers she found marijuana treats her symptoms the best.


“It relaxes my spasms, I have a lot of major charley horses that come in my legs on a daily basis and that helps relax that a lot,” she said.


On Monday Murch was one of about forty people who visited a traveling clinic that set up shop in a Spokane hotel. These patients must have their medical records and conditions reviewed by a doctor if they want to qualify for their permit, but many family physicians are still reluctant to sign off on the cannibis treatments.


However Dr. Thomas Orvald is willing to meet with prospective medical marijuana patients. The heart surgeon says after forty years in the business, he thinks marijuana's natural properties outperform other pain medications.


“By helping them achieve some relief from pain by using a non-toxic medication I think it's appropriate,” Dr. Orvald said.


However Dr. Orvald will not tell his patients where to get marijuana.


Most try to grow it themselves, however if they’re caught with more than a two-month supply their permit won't protect them from prosecution.

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