Medical Marijuana: Is it safe?

RENO, Nev. ( & KRNV) — “It is nothing more than a pot candy shop out there that is available to anyone who wants it.” Jerry Mager and his wife, Illona, want to see stricter regulations of medical marijuana.

“Anybody who wants to get a card for any reason can obtain one,” Jerry said. “It’s not medication.”

The couple lost their son 20 years ago in a car crash. They say the driver was under the influence of marijuana. Since his death, they’ve become strong anti-marijuana advocates.

“We want to eliminate it from the state and we’re starting with the county,” he said. They have fought bills at the state legislature level before. Now, the Magers are lobbying for Washoe County dispensaries to be shut down.

Jerry and Illona think cannabis should be approved by the FDA before people can use it as a medication. “I think that this should go through the FDA,” retired nurse, Illona said. “There should be the required trials and extensive research that the FDA provides.”

Jerry said he believes the legalization of medical marijuana should be a federal issue. “The legislature has no right to declare anything a medication. That’s up to the FDA.”

Both believe Nevada’s current medical marijuana program is not safe. Jerry said it is no stricter than recreational legalization.

“What’s going on with medical marijuana is no regulation of that type at all,” he said. “You see the doctor once a year. You use as much as you want every day.” The Magers are concerned about a patient being able to control the amount of THC they consume. “There’s no dosage requirement.”

News 4 brought the Magers’ concerns to a marijuana dispensary manager.

“There’s a variety of strains that can benefit people for different needs,” Eva Losey-Grossman said. “You can ask us all about it. Just come in the store and the bud tenders are very knowledgeable.”

Losey-Grossman is the manager of Sierra Wellness Connection in Reno. She said the dispensary offers dozens of strains of cannabis, with different levels of THC.

“We are laboratory tested by an independent, state certified laboratory.” Losey-Grossman said the products sold at Sierra Wellness Connection are safe.

The executive director of the Nevada Medical Marijuana Association weighed in as well. “Our lab testing standards are the highest in the country,” Will Adler said. “You know you’re putting a safe product in your body. Not a mystery bag of green things you buy off the street.”

With further regulation after medical marijuana was legalized came new strains. Many of those strains are designed to specifically target certain ailments.

“Because of this, you can have a product that’s being developed and hybridized and created through studies,” Joetta Macillus said. Macillus is battling stage four breast cancer. She uses medical marijuana to cope with her pain. “So you’re getting not just something that’s growing on the side of the road basically. You’re getting a real medicine.”

In part three of this series, you’ll hear more of Joetta Macillus’s story. She claims marijuana has changed her life. You can watch part three on Wednesday, December 2 at 6 p.m.

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Veterans For Cannabis

Veterans freedomOn the eve of Veterans Day, Senate passed the Fiscal Year 2016 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs (MilCon-VA) Appropriation Bill, which included a stipulation allowing Veterans Affairs doctors to recommend medical cannabis in states where it is legal. This is huge for the Veteran community. This means Veterans who use medical cannabis in states where it is legal would not be subjected to the same scrutiny and intrusive, demeaning drug testing in order to receive Veterans Affairs treatment.

Oftentimes Veterans suffering with painful side effects or complex PTSD as a result of their service are faced with the decision to either take the medical concoction regularly prescribed for treatment by the VA, or seek costly medical care away from the Veterans Administration. More and more Veterans are turning to cannabis for its powerful healing and pain fighting attributes.

american flag leaf

After serving in the Navy 7 years, I returned home with complex PTSD/MST and long term side effects from the anthrax inoculation, which left me with debilitating pain and muscle stiffness, leaving me unable to walk without assistance most days. The Veterans Administration prescribed a cocktail of medications, totaling 10 pills I needed to take every day, some two to three times a day. The side effects of the medications were, in my opinion, worse than the issues they were supposedly treating. I was left catatonic, completely unable to sit up, walk, talk or eat on my own. Upon explaining my issues with the medications to my doctors I was told they are fine, I just needed to get used to them. I knew there had to be a better way.

I was told about medical cannabis by other Veterans. To be honest, I was very weary, after having grown up with the D.A.R.E. Program and hearing how marijuana would destroy your life. I decided, going and talking to the doctor couldn’t hurt and was given a recommendation for medical cannabis use after describing my issues. I went to the dispensary and was recommended to try a strain called “Cherry Pie”. After getting my medication home, I filled up my new pipe and took a hit. Within a minute I could feel my muscles start to loosen. The crippling pain was alleviated. After another toke, the shakes in my extremities went away. With another toke, I could stand upright and walk on my own. I was convinced at that moment, cannabis was a miracle medication.

I couldn’t go back to being catatonic, so the next time I went to the VA, I was honest about being prescribed to use cannabis by another doctor. Instantly I was accused of being a drug addict and made to submit to a drug test in order to receive any medication. From that moment on, I was made to submit to drug tests at every appointment. If I lied to my doctors about my medical use of cannabis, I was treated with as much respect as any Veteran would expect to receive from the VA (which isn’t saying much).

My only hope with passing of the Veterans Access to Medical Cannabis provision in the MilCom-VA bill is that Veterans will have access to medication based on its effectiveness at treating the issue, rather the current persecution of a plant, and its users, regardless of its effective medicinal attributes. Although, I fear the Veterans Administration may have some time before we see that happening.

~Rebecca Martin    becca

Senate Approves Funding Bill Allowing Medical Marijuana for Veterans