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Marijuana Farm Could Help HIV Positive

Herb Fellow

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Hawaii became one of the first states to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes...a bill before state lawmakers could potentially secure a facility for patients to grow their plants. The bill would require federally regulated areas for patients to grow marijuana plants without fear of being arrested.

Joseph Rattner, who was diagnosed as HIV positive 15 years ago, has a regimented medication program of more than 25 pills a day, and he smokes medical marijuana 4 times daily. "It's not about getting high it's about feeling hungry I don't feel high when I smoke and I don't go outside to get high," Rattner said.

In November of last year he was hospitalized for 3 weeks. "I came out and I was 100 pounds. Reason being I couldn't swallow I couldn't drink I couldn't eat," Rattner said. Rattner says side effects from the medication make him nauseas, causes severe mouth and throat pain. "When you're in pain and when you're not comfortable and I am talking pain and I am sitting here and I feel good," Rattner said.

Rattner is licensed to grow and smoke marijuana to treat his medical condition, but... "Medical marijuana is a problem certification wise in Hawaii because it's hard to grow," Rattner said.

He also fears for his safety because of his access to the drug. "I am worried about people breaking into my house I am worried about somebody hurting my parents," Rattner said. Because of all these reasons...Rattner supports a bill to expand Hawaii's current marijuana law to include a facility where patients can grow marijuana plants.

But some law makers are concerned about the security of such a facility. "If people can smuggle things into a prison, is there a possibility that people can smuggle something out of a marijuana facility," Senator Willie Espero said.

Opponents of medical marijuana say the plant has no medical benefits and violates federal law. A decision making hearing on the proposal will be held before the House Health Committee on Wednesday morning.

Source: KHON 2
Copyright: 2008, KHON 2
Contact: Olena Rubin
Website: Marijuana Farm Could Help HIV Positive | KHON2 FOX | Local Top Stories
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