Florence Siegel is a ninety-one year old grandmother and artist diagnosed with spinal stenosis in 2001. Spinal stenosis causes pressure on the spinal cord and narrows the openings where spinal nerves leave the spinal column.
For Florence, the condition has caused a great deal of pain in her legs and has made it more difficult for her to move around comfortably.
Florence says that the small amount of marijuana she uses each night “helps with the pain and makes me able to tolerate my condition better.” It also helps combat her insomnia, a condition she has struggled with her entire life.
Florence does not understand why medical marijuana is illegal. As she points out, “No one has ever died from an overdose of marijuana; It’s insane medical marijuana is not legal.”
Florence doesn’t like having to break the law just to find some relief. “The worst thing about using medical marijuana is that’s its illegal, and I have to buy it surreptitiously. It makes a criminal out of me.”
New York does not currently permit the medicinal use of marijuana, so Florence is forced to choose between breaking the law and relief from her painful symptoms. This is a choice no one should have to make.