Pubdate: Wed, 11 Mar 2009
Source: Asbury Park Press (NJ)
Copyright: 2009 Asbury Park Press
Author: Sharon Krizan


The state Senate should be applauded for passing a bill allowing
compassionate use of medical marijuana. For those of us suffering from
debilitating diseases, this affords us some of the pain relief we need
and allays fear of prosecution.

I was diagnosed with severe rheumatoid arthritis in 2003. I am 59,
worked for 40 years, but within a month of onset I could no longer
dress myself and was reduced to moving from bed to the couch and back.
I was put on disability with an array of anti-inflammatory drugs. With
my appetite suppressed from them, I went from 126 pounds to 102.

I started smoking marijuana before meals and in the morning for
stiffness and pain. The relief was immediate and I went up to 118
pounds. Because of the prohibitive cost and fear of arrest, I grew
some of the seeds I had acquired. Before long, I had enough marijuana
for myself.

I was charged in 2007 with a first-degree felony. The trauma and fear
will never be forgotten for both myself and my husband. It was a
degrading and embarrassing experience. The lawyer's fee was $15,000 to
prevent a 5- to 10-year prison sentence (we are still making payments).

I received a drug court sentence including intensive outpatient
sessions, drug court and probation visits and weekly Narcotics
Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. The pain level returned
and the disease has progressed.

This bill will keep other families from having their whole world torn
apart. It should be put into law as soon as possible and give families
the understanding and help they deserve.

Sharon Krizan

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