SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

May 8, 2014

For patients, a long wait gets longer

(Continued)

Aside from obtaining marijuana from private sources, patients who have been cleared by a doctor to use it have two options right now: grow it themselves or have a “caregiver” do it for them.
Dawson said neither approach would work for her husband. For one, growing marijuana presents its own set of problems — especially with landlords — and for another, caregivers are few and far between, due to restrictions the state has placed on them, she said.
One such restriction is that caregivers can’t grow for more than one patient, which limits the pool of people both willing and skilled enough to act as a caregiver, Dawson said. A more realistic law would allow caregivers to grow for up to five patients, she said.
“It would bring a lot of relief to a lot of patients,” she said.
In the meantime, Dawson is stuck relying on friends, people she knows — anybody who might have access to marijuana. She didn’t divulge much about how she and her husband search for it, but she pointed to the post-surgery situation in 2012 as being representative of the process.
At first, Dawson tried to rely on the Vicodin he’d been prescribed, but the side effects became so intense that he opted to go without it. Once he started to realize it wasn’t going to suffice, his wife began searching for anybody who might have access to marijuana.
“Because it was a such a traumatic surgery, it was a tremendous pain,” she said. “I spent an entire Sunday just texting anybody, you know, or reaching out to get some type of word. ... It took him until 2:00 in the morning.”
Although a dispensary will make acquiring marijuana easier for local patients, Dawson pointed out that the marijuana itself will also be safer, as dispensaries will be held to strict production standards. 

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