New Hampshire native: Allow compassionate use in the Granite State

Note from Steph - this is an open letter to the New Hampshire legislature urging them to overturn Governor Lynch's veto of a compassionate use bill.

Dear Senators,

Experience is something legislators rely on when making important decisions. Please consider my significant medical experience with Crohn’s disease, cancer and Social Security disability when voting on to overturn Governor Lynch’s veto of SB 409, the medical marijuana bill.

I am a New Hampshire native, born in 1948 in Whitefield, where I had many fond memories growing up. During the summer of my junior year of high school in 1964, we moved to northern Massachusetts. Within months of moving to Massachusetts, I became an alcoholic at age 16. I was kicked off the basketball team during my senior year in my new town, for drinking. Arrests for “minor in possession, fighting, siphoning gas”, etc. followed.So, at the encouragement of my parents, I joined the Navy, where I scored well on exams and was assigned to an Admiral’s staff in Oakland. I kept an apartment in San Francisco and continued to drink.

It was on a Navy base in 1967 when I first experienced marijuana, but mostly I drank and used the methamphetamine capsules that the corpsmen passed out to us in large bottles, if we requested it. Amongst those three, marijuana always seemed the least destructive, but I preferred booze. By the time I was thirty five in 1985; I finally surrendered to the disease and entered an alcohol treatment program in San Diego. Thankfully, it worked; I haven’t had a drink or drug to for non-medical use since 1985.

Experiences - disease, tradition medicine, and medical marijuana

In 1996, I moved to Santa Fe, NM, where I soon had another disease to contend with, Crohn’s. I was stricken with a vicious attack on my body which continued for the next ten years. Hideous side effects were common, including a perianal fistula and five skin cancer surgeries, including a stage two melanoma. The VA hospital assembled a tumor board of five specialists and operated on my face quickly - I am so grateful the care I received.

Most of my doctors agree with me (at least off-record) that the melanoma was likely because my immune system was so compromised from the years of drugs, drugs that were designed to suppress it. My Crohn’s reached a level that I was visiting my toilet about thirty times a day/night, for about a year - approximately 10,950 bowel experiences in a year. For the second time since 1999, I had lost 50 -60 pounds in a matter of weeks.

In 2005, I closed my business in Santa Fe and moved 150 miles north to Pagosa Springs, CO, trying to continue my RE career. My savings were becoming depleted and I couldn’t work effectively. I had to apply for Social Security Disability in 2008 – after dealing with a severe case of Crohn’s (four surgeries) since 1999 – it was quickly granted. Again, I am grateful for the care I received.

Even if Recovering from Alcoholism, Medical Cannabis is Good Medicine

I had lived (and suffered) in Colorado for three and a half years before I heard of the medical marijuana law. Nothing else had helped, but I was leery of trying it, because of my problems with addictions. AA teaches that any mind altering substance can trigger those addictive impulses. Nevertheless, I was desperate. I called a doctor and he was willing to sign for me to get a medical marijuana card.

At that time the only source I knew of for the medicine was a shadowy guy in Durango, literally in an alleyway apartment. I put on my Depends and drove over there –scared of the police and what might happen to my 23 years of continuous sobriety. Medical marijuana was supposed to be legal, but it sure didn’t feel like it to me back then before Colorado dispensaries became actual stores instead of alleyways.

I went home and medicated. The vapors immediately started to open some of the blockages in my intestinal tract and I knew there was some hope, for the first time in 11 years. The VA recommended removing my colon and rectum, leaving a pouch, just months earlier - I’m certainly glad that I didn’t allow it. Within three months I was able to wean myself off of prescription drugs and I knew that I was going to reclaim my life from this disease.

My VA doctors were initially skeptical about my new therapy, but they had no better suggestions – now they are pleased that I’m no longer dying a slow death, at taxpayer expense.

Sick Patients Need an Override, not Another Excuse

You have a huge decision before you and I implore you, please don’t deprive sick people of the opportunity that I had. Instead, please focus on the documented facts of people who have been healed, or helped in seventeen states and DC. If you, as Senators, accept it as a medicine, then you have to allow accessibility. Please don’t tease a dying person and not deliver a reality for them, we are so close to bringing relief to those who need it. Please vote to overturn Governorn Lynch’s veto of SB 409.

I come from a large blended Irish family (eight kids) of mostly conservative, successful people – but they are sure glad that I’m not dying anymore. Please consider us, when voting.

Yearning to return to the state of my birth - to live free, not die.

Bill Delany

Bill Delany is the owner of Good Earth Meds, a dispensary in Pagosa Springs, Colorado.