Rikki is a forty-one year old woman who lives in Wappinger Falls. She has a number of serious medical conditions including rheumatoid arthritis, anemia, and fibromyalgia. She also suffers from panic attacks, insomnia and depression. But Rikki cannot take any of the pharmaceutical medicines usually prescribed for these conditions because she cannot tolerate their side effects. She is dangerously allergic to gelatin which is found in many of the compounds used to treat her conditions. Before her allergy was identified, Rikki had several episode of anaphylactic shock after taking prescribed medications. Anaphylaxis is potentially fatal, and Rikki had to be hospitalized after one such attack because of bleeding in her stomach.
Rikki moved to New York State in November 2013. Prior to that she lived in Colorado where she was a licensed medical marijuana patient. She knows from experience that marijuana is, by far, the most effective medicine for her illnesses. “It’s the only thing that works for me,” she says. When in Colorado, she was able to take medical marijuana in a tincture or as an edible. It allowed her to eat, sleep and function. Without access to her medicine of choice, Rikki has experienced severe pain, exhaustion and anxiety.