I am a thirty one year old resident of San Diego. I am a honorably discharged Navy Veteran. I am a victim of permanent injuries suffered while serving on active duty for the United States Navy.
In 2005, the rotator cuff in my right shoulder was torn. Later, I was diagnosed with a degenerative disk condition in my lower back.
I served as a Counseling Intern at the Veterans Village of San Diego, a military Veteran-centric recovery treatment program and facility, for over 3 months while finishing my Associate’s Degree. Thus, giving me a wide-ranging perspective into PTSD and drug use of soldiers from World War 2 up until today's Global War on Terrorism.
While serving in the Navy, I was regularly prescribed narcotic pain medications, such as Motrin 800.
This type of medication, while having some effect on my pain, caused side effects which made me feel worse than I had before taking them.
These side effects included: headaches, severe nausea, stomach pains, and increasing lethargy. I have also learned that these pharmaceuticals have long term detrimental effects on my internal organs, the full extent of which have yet to be determined.
Because I was still performing my duties in the Navy, I routinely opted not to take the pain medications.
I first learned about the Compassionate Use of Medical Marijuana in 2007. I did a great deal of research regarding how Compassionate Use could help my symptomology.
At that time, however, I was still in the Navy and I knew that if I were to become a Compassionate User, I could be discharged dishonorably and lose all that I had worked for. So even though I believed Compassionate Use could help me, I chose to abstain from use of necessity.
On November 4th, 2011, I was honorably discharged from the United States Navy.
A week later, November 11th, 2011, Veteran’s Day, I underwent a medical examination by a private physician. After the exam, she evaluated my Naval Medical Record, and prescribed Cannabis as a medicine.
Since the day I became a Compassionate User, I have not needed any pharmaceutical drugs for relief of my pain, any sickness, or other symptoms relating to my conditions.
In addition to relieving my pain, my pain management and overall health has gotten better by the day.
In conjunction with Compassionate Use, I have routine VA checkups, practice yoga, ride my bicycle, and eat a healthy diet.
Compassionate Use has been a life-improving force for me. I have far more energy, experience restful sleep, gained a healthy outlook on food and medicine, and increased my productivity to levels I once thought were unattainable for me.
Since my honorable discharge from the Navy, and becoming a Compassionate User, I served in the Wounded Warriors Congressional Fellowship program as a Community Representative for California’s 51st District during 2010 through 2011. While in charge of Banking and Federal monetary programs, I helped dozens of South Bay families avoid foreclosure, modify their mortgage, and ultimately keep their home in the face of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.
Also, I have earned an Associate’s Degree in Behavioral Science with a Certificate of Achievement in Alcohol and Other Drug Studies Addiction Counseling from the San Diego City College.
If the City of San Diego continues its stated crusade to shut down all Compassionate Use Dispensaries, my life will change drastically and for the worse.
I will have several options if the City succeeds in its plan to eliminate safe, legal Compassionate Use Dispensary store fronts. None of these options will do anything but increase the intensity and severity of my symptoms.
My first option will be to take nothing and suffer the chronic pain from my injuries. This option is not viable for me because it will cause a significant drop in the quality of my life, my productivity, my health, and the management of my pain.
My second option will be to return to the pharmaceuticals previously prescribed for my symptoms. I know from experience that these do not effectively manage my pain, are highly addictive, will decrease my productivity, and will cause me to suffer from the known side effects of these drugs. This option is not viable for me because it will cause me a significant drop in the quality of my life, my productivity, my health, and the management of my pain.
My third option is to try and obtain my medicine through illegal transactions. The great risks involved in this option are inherent. First, even though I have a legal right under California law to possess, use, and obtain medical marijuana, no person in California has the right to dispense it to me. Consequently, even though I would not be committing a crime, per se, I would still be involved in a criminal activity.
Additionally, if I am illegally obtaining my medicine, I run the risk of not knowing whether the medicine I am purchasing is safe, appropriate, or tampered with.
The City’s actions in eliminating Compassionate Use Dispensaries are already causing me a great deal of anxiety and fear regarding my ability to legally obtain my necessary medicine.
If the City succeeds in its mission to shut down all access for Compassionate Users, it will cause me immediate and irremediable harm.