DOT Dismisses Complaint from User of US Marijuana

March 28, 2004

, Associated Press Wire Service

Fort Lauderdale, Fla. - The U.S. Department of Transportation found that a man who legally uses government-provided marijuana for medicinal purposes should have been allowed to board a Delta airlines flight here with the drug three years ago.

But the order dismisses the complaint filed by Irvin Rosenfeld, a stockbroker who has used marijuana through a federal program to treat pain from a chronic bone condition since November 1982.

Rosenfeld filed the complaint last year, after he said Delta agents refused to let him board a flight from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport to Washington, D.C. in March 2001. Rosenfeld, who had told the airline and reporters of his plans to take his marijuana on the flight, alleged that he was a disabled person and that the airline discriminated against him.

The order said that because of the 'highly exceptional' circumstances in the case, no action against the airline would be taken. Fewer than 10 individuals have the right to carry marijuana, as Rosenfeld does.

'It is understandable that Delta's employees were reluctant to allow him to board and were unable to confirm promptly that he was entitled to travel with his marijuana,' the report, released on Friday, said.

A Delta spokesman said the airline had no comment.

The report added that Rosenfeld's conduct during the incident 'may be properly termed 'grandstanding,'' and 'that Mr. Rosenfeld should have been allowed to board the flight ... but that such documentation and information was not available to the Delta employees involved in the incident.'

Rosenfeld suffers from a rare bone disease causing tumor growth, which in turn leads to muscle spasms, internal bleeding and severe pain.

He said the marijuana has been the only effective medication and that he smokes about 12 cigarettes each day.

Rosenfeld said he plans to appeal the order.

'I was so wronged by what Delta did and I just have to say it one more time to the DOT,' he said.

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