Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Boston Brainstorm's a Blast, & Somebody Validates Ma Pain

Here's something I wrote today for The ASA, Americans for Safe Access Discussions Forum:

Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Stakeholders love Steph Sherer!
Thanks to Matt Allen of MPAA we had an opportunity to meet Steph. What a brilliant facilitator! It was fun to share visions and brainstorm together at the Boston Public Library, where about sixty people( did anyone count heads?) met last Sunday. I liked the structure of Steph's meeting agenda, her ability to keep us all enthusedly on task for several hours, in a 105 degree conference room, in stilletoes, and the big sticky paper & markers approach to seeing everyone's ideas out there together. We collectively envisioned many elements of a medical marijuana bill that would surpass the Rhode Island MMJ model upon which our current bill, long languishing in committee, is based.

We got a lesson in civics. One of the attendees went home and posted a link to facebook to help Stakeholders access contact info for the Reps we need to keep bugging now. I called Gov Deval Patrick's office yesterday and asked for an opportunity to meet with him for a conversation about safe access for medical marijuana patients here in Mass. I followed up with a snail mail letter and I'm going to call the office again today. Lol. I'm on fire!

I also contacted Jeffrey Sanchez, chair of the committee sitting on our bill and asked if he'd be willing  to put this issue on the top of his to do list. Called and followed up with a letter.

My vow is to take one such action a day (at least) until we free up the medicine.

Let me share two moments at the Stakeholders' meeting that fired my zeal:

As we "visioned" our ideal MMJ bill, a man using voice generating technology, who identified as the founder of the nation's first residential facility for ALS, said he wants to make sure the bill calls for safe access for dying patients, people in hospitals, at home or in hospices, nursing homes and assisted living facilities, with uncomplicated access and cooperation from doctors and care providers. We've passed two MMJ bills here in Mass and we still haven't allowed for this??

Another meaningful moment, for me deeply personal and significant; during the lunch break I "came out", so to speak, as a medical patient wannabe, to Dr. Karen Munkacy, who told the Stakeholders she has become an advocate for MMJ after reading the most current medical literature on marijuana's effectiveness for the management of chronic pain. She  told me she wished she could help me, that just observing me during the meeting she could see how much I am suffering, that what she could see in my face is the classic textbook example, the face of  one who is in severe, ongoing agony. I almost wept to receive that acknowledgement of what I live with. I have ankylosing spondylitis and fibromyalgia, both flaring away of late thanks to all this excitement in my life. The doctor observed me sadly, saying she wished she could help me, but that as things stand even a written recommendation from her would not legally protect me. Looking into my eyes she added, "but I think, for someone like you, a good indica strain would be very helpful. "