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Little Falls, NY

Brian, a lifelong New Yorker and father of two, was injured on a jobsite in 1986 during his work as a carpenter and broke his back. As a result of the injury, he experiences severe chronic pain and is no longer able to work. He says his life “has never been the same since.”

Brian’s doctors prescribed him numerous medications for the pain, including hydrocodone, nerve block shots and fentanyl patches. However, he felt that the side effects of opioid treatment were unsustainable. Brian explains, “I felt like I was living in a cloud. I felt like a different person.”

After learning that medical marijuana can be used for pain management, Brian began using it and was able to manage his pain while decreasing his use of opioids.

Due to concerns about quality control and buying his medication on the black market, Brian began growing his own marijuana. However, he was arrested and jailed for doing so. Brian explains, “I’ve never hurt anyone. I don’t think I’m a criminal. But now I’m now a convicted felon.”

While Brian has now reestablished his life with his family in Little Falls, he still feels the effects of his conviction. Brian explains, “I’m sure that many doors have been shut because of it. And now I live in constant fear of arrest.” Brian must now choose between breaking the law and facing a second arrest or denying himself the medication that he feels is best for him. This is a choice no one should have to make.