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James D.

Cuba, NY

James Dyche, a loving husband and father of twin daughters, broke his back during his service in the Gulf War almost 23 years ago and was then diagnosed with fibromyalgia and Gulf War Syndrome. In 2011, James was presented with the New York State Medal for Merit and the New York State Conspicuous Service Star for his service to the country. As a result of his military service, James lives with severe chronic back pain, uncontrollable muscle spasms, weakness, difficulty walking, insomnia and depression. Once a U.S. Navy combat officer, James now battles daily just to ease his suffering.

James will not take the pain medications and sedatives that doctors have prescribed because of the negative side effects he has experienced. Instead, he uses medical marijuana to alleviate his symptoms. According to James, “Prescription medications leave me in a mentally withdrawn state. I have difficulty connecting with my family and playing with my children. When using marijuana, my symptoms are drastically toned down, and my pain is manageable, allowing me to focus on and carry out everyday tasks.”

Because New York does not currently permit the medicinal use of marijuana, James is forced to break the law in order to ease his suffering. “I don’t want to be a criminal, James says.” “I am afraid if a medical marijuana bill does not pass in New York State soon, I will be forced to move to another state. With a wife and two twin daughters, I am sad to say I am considered a criminal if I chose to use the only medication that has worked for me.”