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Bronx, NY

Melvin suffers from severe pain due to fibromyalgia and Crohn’s disease. He has been prescribed OxyContin, Percocet and Vicodin to treat his symptoms; however, he complained of significant side effects, stating “I had dry mouth, nausea, light-headedness and couldn’t really function…I also worried about addiction.”

Soon after being diagnosed with fibromyalgia, he heard that many people use medical marijuana to treat the pain associated with the ailment. He decided to try it and describes having instant relief. According to Melvin, “Unlike the pills, the pain went away immediately. It helped with the Crohn’s too. The side effects were much milder, and I could function much better.” Medical professionals supported his decision. According to Melvin, “several doctors and nurses have suggested that I use marijuana to treat the pain. Someone even suggested making a tea with it.”

Unlike the 18 other states where medical marijuana is legal, New York does not have a regulated medical marijuana system, so Melvin had to buy his medicine on the black market. Due to fear of arrest, he stopped using marijuana, even though he has had severe, debilitating flare ups in his Crohn’s Disease since. If New York does not create a regulated medical marijuana system in the near future, Melvin says he will move to New Jersey. This is a decision no one should have to make.