Chuck Culhane is 69 years old and lives in Buffalo, New York. He has suffered from spinal stenosis for the past decade. Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the spinal canal which causes compression of the spinal cord. As a result, Chuck experiences pain and numbness in his arms, legs, feet and hands. He cannot stand or sit for more than a few minutes without the onset of pain. Sometimes, he says, “it feels like someone is sticking a knife in my back and twisting it.” Because of his illness, Chuck, who is a trained paralegal, has not been able to work for some years.
Chuck has been prescribed Hydrocodone, a narcotic, for his pain, and he says it helps a little. But the side effects including drowsiness, dizziness and nausea, make it difficult for him to function. He has read and heard about the benefits of marijuana for his condition and would like to try it. But he is afraid to commit an act that is still illegal in New York State.