I spent most of this day, the third anniversary of my sister Ruthie’s death (read about it on the Rod Dreher blog, apart from the TAC front page), driving to and from a wake for my friend Dave’s wife Alison, who died late last week from cancer. She was 42. She and Dave have a two-year-old daughter.
I discovered this morning as I was looking online for information about the funeral home where Alison’s body was that Alison had testified back in May before a Louisiana state legislative committee about the benefits of medical marijuana. Excerpt:
Louisiana laws allows patients suffering from glaucoma, chemotherapy treatments and spastic quadriplegia to receive marijuana for therapeutic use.
Alison Neustrom, a 42-year-old mother of a toddler, told the committee about her medical treatments since she was diagnosed with inoperable liver cancer. She said there has been weight loss and nausea.
“I ask you to consider this option. I believe people and doctors in Louisiana should have this option,” Neustrom said. “I think it’s important that those suffering not be denied the option.”
“Make the compassionate vote, the courageous vote and moral vote to pass this bill,” she pleaded.
Jacob Irving told of living with spastic quadriplegia — a condition where the muscles do not develop properly.
“It’s painful all the time,” he said.
Irving said he’s tried every pharmaceutical option. “They were not effective,” he said. “There are no other treatments available for people with cerebral palsy and spasticity. There’s nothing else but this.”
“I don’t want to be a freak my whole life. I want to be a real person,” Irving said.
What was the point of the hearing? To consider a bill that would have set up medical marijuana dispensaries and protocols, so these suffering people would not have to depend on buying pot illegally to get the relief to which they are entitled under law.
The state Attorney General was against the bill:
Prosecutors said marijuana is a controlled dangerous substance according to the federal Food and Drug Administration and its use in violation of federal law, they said.
“I’d rather study the issue and force the federal government to come to the table so our oath of office can be upheld,” said Attorney General Buddy Caldwell, who added he had not read Mills’ bill.
The bill failed in committee.
I don’t understand this at all. Happily, the state does not criminalize marijuana use for medical reasons. But it does force very, very sick people to deal with criminals to get the help they need. I hope this bill comes back, and that it has Alison’s name attached to it. Alison, whose father is the sheriff of Lafayette Parish, did a lot of good for people in life; may she continue her good work here among us.