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How Do You Spell Relief?

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May 03,00
Edmonton Sun
By Andrea Wiebe
Two Edmontonians tired of battling cops to use marijuana to alleviate chronic pain hope the federal government will soon offer relief.
Both separately convicted for marijuana possession despite court arguments it soothes their pain, Dean Troyer and Patricia Weber want to apply to the federal health minister for an exemption from laws prohibiting marijuana cultivation and its use.
Health Minister Allan Rock set up clinical trials a year ago to study pot's medicinal purposes.
Troyer, a city firefighter, is waiting for a diagnosis Friday to find out if he has Crohn's disease - a chronic inflammation of the intestine causing abdominal pain, fever and weight loss.
"Marijuana helps ease the pain, and right now I haven't been eating much more than a piece of white toast. I've lost a lot of weight lately," said Troyer, 42, who has been off work since last July.
"It's pain control and appetite stimulant."
With his pain relief came a high price; he was fined $2,500 and put on six months probation a year ago for having a hydroponic grow-operation in his basement.
Troyer has done extensive research on the effects and health benefits of marijuana and sees medical exemptions as a step in the right direction.
But that step doesn't go far enough, he said.
"They give you an exemption but there's no way you can get the product legally. You have to grow it on your own and, if you're too sick to grow it on your own, what do you do?"
Research has shown marijuana destroys brain tumours in mice, quells multiple sclerosis tremors and prevents brain damage from strokes, said Troy.
"I think there's more than enough evidence. If smoking a joint helps, then you should be smoking a joint. When you talk about medical marijuana, you're talking about basic human rights," he said.
"The only problem I had with pot is that I got arrested."
Troy and Weber both hope to see prescriptions for marijuana given out to suffering patients.
Weber was fined $600 in December 1997 for her marijuana use to combat migraine headaches and arthritis.
Her daughter's suggestion to apply for the federal exemption has raised her interest, she said.
"I am thinking about it, definitely, because I don't want to keep getting busted."
A Tylenol 3 for her migraines takes about 20 minutes to kick in, but "a little toke will help it right away," said Weber. "I also use it for arthritis."
She said not everyone should have access to weed.
"You can't have kids using marijuana in school," Weber said.
"I'm an old bag.
"Let me enjoy my life, the rest of it."

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