I am a 41-year old Eagle Scout, Nurse (RN, BSN), Husband, Father & ex-officer in the Navy and Army Reserve. I have been in the medical field over 23 years. I also have Crohn’s Disease.
I’ve been on many prescription medications to help with my disease. Many gave me even more problems—bone degeneration, pain, muscle spasms, decreased immune system, slower healing, constipation, diarrhea, nausea, eye problems, intestinal bleeding and emotional issues (anger/rage, depression, anxiety and stress). In 2009, I had 14 inches of my small intestines & ileocecal valve surgically removed. I’ve had subsequent problems with an incisional hernia and the mesh needed to hold my remaining intestines from squeezing out of my poorly healing abdominal muscles.
The medical field has become so infiltrated by pharmaceutical companies that there have even been new rules placed in medical facilities where physicians and staff are no longer allowed to receive money, gifts or “kickbacks” from Drug Reps. We see advertisements all the time where there is always some new pill you must have to help cure things you didn’t even know you had. These people don’t care about us, our health or anything but money. Just listen to all the negative side effects they spew – like an auctioneer – at the end of every commercial.
With the Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act, thousands of chronically-ill Arkansans could now be helped with their chronic pain, lack of appetite, increased intraocular pressure, muscle spasms, chronic fatigue and nausea. In fact, physicians often find cannabis provides relief for symptoms and illnesses where other prescription medicines fail to do so. Imagine all the people it could help by an all natural plant that grows from the earth and with little to no side effects.
Twenty of our fifty United States (40% of America) have already enacted laws allowing patients to use cannabis with a doctor’s recommendation. In 2010 a nationwide ABC News/Washington Post poll found 81% of Americans doctors should be allowed to prescribe it for medical purposes. In 2005 about 75% of physicians approved of the use of medical marijuana and believe the federal government should not be able to prosecute people who use, grow or obtain cannabis prescribed by a doctor for medicinal purposes.
Voting YES on The Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act will help approve a comprehensive blueprint for establishing and regulating a medical cannabis program in Arkansas, run by the Arkansas Department of Health. A patient must first obtain a written recommendation from an Arkansas physician and then get a license from the Arkansas Department of Health.
I used medical cannabis from 1998-2001 for my Crohn’s Disease. I was given a random urine drug screening in the Naval Reserve in 2001 which came back positive for THC. I was immediately released from the Navy with a General Discharge Under Honorable Conditions and had my nursing license placed on 18 months probation (where I was also not allowed to drink alcohol). I lost all military benefits from my 11 years of excellent military service and was made out as a “criminal” & an example to other nurses in an Arkansas nursing magazine. It also prevented me from being accepted into CRNA school (even though I was the top of my class). Medicinal cannabis was already legal in many states at that time. I lived in Arkansas so I was a criminal and took massive losses because I was trying to self-medicate using the science, compassion & common sense I was taught as a nurse in Arkansas.
My Crohn’s Disease progressively got worse after I was forced to stop using cannabis and in 2009 I got complete intestinal blockage and needed invasive surgery to remove some of my intestines. Also, with the probation I was made to present to my physicians for “illegal drug use” I was not given adequate pain medicine before or after surgery. I am now on four medications because I cannot use medical cannabis. I still have pain & nausea every day. I would not need two to three of the medications if I were prescribed and allowed to use medical cannabis.
This act will not put drugs in the hands of kids or cause a bunch of drug addicts. It will help make things right and provide much needed relief for people with chronic illnesses in Arkansas. It could have possibly saved me tons of money and major surgery. Arkansas has suffered long enough so please educate yourself and vote for the Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act.
Thank you for your time, your compassion, and your vote.
Shayne M. Gray RN, BSN