Joel a father and Conservative Party member has lived with intractable pain since a 2001 car accident. The car accident and resulting pain rendered him unable to work. He has sought out a host of tests and treatments, including chiropractic care, electromagnetic treatments, acupuncture, and every pain medication imaginable. He has been prescribed narcotic pain killers, like fentanyl and morphine, but they cause serious side-effects such as nausea, stomach ache, and addiction.
Joel first smoked marijuana while doing Hurricane Katrina relief work in New Orleans and Miami. He ran out of his narcotic prescription and was unable to obtain a refill during the post-Katrina chaos. He suffered from withdrawal in addition to the pain related to his injury. When he arrived in Miami and was offered marijuana, he was in too dire a situation to refuse.
Within moments of first using medical marijuana he found it relieved the pain without any of the harmful side-effects of his other medications. According to Joel, “It was the greatest I felt since the accident. It put me back to feeling normal again.”
Despite the effects in alleviating his suffering, Joel has decided he won’t break the law to obtain medical marijuana and is forced to stick with the less effective and more debilitating pain narcotics his doctor prescribes. He says, “I don’t think anyone should be criminalized for using medical marijuana. It’s not fair. If you don’t have the money or health benefits to afford a pain management doctor like I have, what are you supposed to do?”