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Irvin Rosenfeld Has Received 12 Cigarettes Daily From Government For 21 Years



With a slow exhale, a plume of smoke escapes from his marijuana
cigarette. Dressed in a gray business suit, Irv Rosenfeld is the most
unlikely person you'd expect to be lighting up during a quick lunch
from his job as a high profile stockbroker.

But Rosenfeld, who handles accounts in Boca Raton and Ft. Lauderdale,
is not your stereotypical pothead.

Diagnosed with a rare bone disorder at the age of 10, he is one of
seven people in the United States who receives medical marijuana from
the government. The "compassionate use" program, which began in 1978,
was cancelled in 1982, but Rosenfeld was "grandfathered in."

"I was told I would not live to my teenage years, I'm very fortunate,"
said Rosenfeld, who couldn't even go to school when he was younger due
to excruciating pain. "I can take my medicine without having to worry
about breaking the law."

This November, marked Rosenfeld's 20-year anniversary surviving a
somewhat 'normal' life, thanks to the cannabis.

As for the rest of the people forbidden to use the drug for medical
purposes, Rosenfeld says he's tired of the government making criminals
out of sick people. The stockbroker says he will continue to campaign
for the hundreds of people who suffer needlessly because they are not
granted the use of medical marijuana.

He is one of four patients in the United States who underwent
extensive testing in 2001 to determine the side effects of using cannabis.

Neurologist, Dr. Ethan Russo, conducted the extensive study, which
included M.R.I's scans, chest x-rays, and blood work, in Montana.
Russo said he was amazed that there had never been any government
studies detailing the positive and/or negative effects of using
medical marijuana.

The tests, said Russo, showed "very few adverse effects in the
patients," no brain shrinkage, no hormone problems and no immune
damage were evident.

Their higher executive functions were fully intact, which, he says, is
easy to prove in Rosenfeld, since the South Florida resident is a
highly successful stockbroker who handles major accounts, despite a
high intake of cannabis each day.

"The truth is cannabis is very effective for a wide variety of medical
conditions including pain, spasms, multiple sclerosis and glaucoma,"
said Russo, who has been practicing for 20 years. "Irv's functioning
has gotten better over time, not worse, as what you might expect in
someone with his condition."

But until the stigma is lifted, many advocates of medical marijuana
say they don't believe the federal government will legalize the drug.

Registered nurse and founder of Patients Out of Time, Mary Lynn Matre,
says she's tired of excuses from the government.

"These people are living with terminal diseases and doing what they
can to have some quality of life," said Matre, a Virginia based nurse
who says she has seen patients make great strides in their daily
functions thanks to medical marijuana.

"The government's big 'out' is that no research supports it, but for
the most part they forbid research," said Matre, who says her program
is dedicated to educating health care profession and public about
medical use of cannabis.

Although they often get lumped in with recreational users who are
hoping to legalize cannabis, none of them say they are looking for a
law which will allow marijuana to become a free for all.

"Regulate it sternly and put it in the hands of doctors," said
Rosenfeld, who has smoked 12 marijuana cigarettes a day for 21 years.

"These are sick people who are dying. They don't have time to wait for
a law to change."

Pubdate: Wed, 10 Dec 2003
Source: Boca Raton News (FL)
Copyright: 2003 Boca Raton News
Contact: edtimes@bocanews.com
Website: Boca Raton News | The Latest News, Entertainment, Real Estate and Things To Do
Author: Kelli Kennedy
Cited: Patients Out of Time Patients Out of Time
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