DEA thwarts Montana's medical marijuana law

August 03, 2007

Robin C. Prosser, OpEd, Billings Gazette (MT)

Five years ago, I starved myself to bring attention to the plight of the sick in Montana that need medical marijuana. Two years later, I worked hard on the campaign for our state medical marijuana initiative, which passed with more support than any other.

Two years after that, Missoula voters passed the low-priority law, which directs law enforcement to put the lowest priority on marijuana. When city commissioners wanted to put restrictions on the amounts possessed, citizens lined the aisles to voice complaint.

Four months ago, my medicine was seized in transit by the Drug Enforcement Administration. I've repeatedly asked Gov. Brian Schweitzer, Attorney General Mike McGrath, Rep. Dennis Rehberg and our U.S. senators for their help, for their protection. All defer to the DEA, who say they can't comment on an ongoing investigation.

Ongoing? I'm 50 years old, low-income and sick. I spend most days in my apartment in bed, with no air conditioning, unable to go outside because I can't tolerate the sun. I had a designated caregiver, as our state medical marijuana law allows, but since the DEA interference, I can no longer have my medicine shipped to me. This means I must find a way to drive four hours twice monthly just to get the medicine that saves my life. I've no reliable transportation. I have to beg for rides.

I've had my medical marijuana confiscated by Missoula County sheriff's deputies, even though I had my registry card in hand at the time. It was never entered into evidence, I was never reimbursed.

Where are my fellow citizens now? How do we allow the DEA to persecute the sick? What about our state rights?

I feel immensely let down. I have no safety, no protection, no help just to survive in a little less pain. I can't even get a job due to my medical marijuana use - can't pass a drug test. But in order to be able to function, get up and work, I must have the only medicine that helps me.

I wish I were able to tolerate morphine, OxyContin or fentanyl. Then I'd be left alone. Then I'd be able to get a job.

Give me liberty or give me death. Maybe the next campaign ought to be for assisted-suicide laws in our state. If they will not allow me to live in peace, and a little less pain, would they help me to die, humanely?


Robin C. Prosser of Missoula uses marijuana to treat her lupus, a chronic autoimmune disease. The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote soon on an amendment intended to stop the federal Drug Enforcement Administration from taking action against people who are using marijuana in accordance with state or local laws.

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