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Medical Pot Access Still a Hush-Hush Endeavor

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Apr. 19, 00
Associated Press
Register-Guard Cathy Bush doesn't smoke marijuana. She doesn't even like the smell of it. But she is working very hard to grow the plant on the sun deck of her home. Her husband, Doug, has permission to use marijuana to ease the pain of osteoarthritis in his upper chest. The trouble is he can't find a way to buy it legally.
Medical marijuana use still exists in a hush-hush world of black market seeds and underground drug deals despite the 1998 Oregon Medical Marijuana Act. Under the law, people with debilitating medical conditions may possess up to 4 ounces of dried marijuana, plus three mature and four immature plants.
But, as the Bushes can attest, growing marijuana takes time, space and money. And then, there's the social cost to consider. ``I've been trying to avoid growing here, though, because of the kids,'' said Cathy Bush, 34.
Under the law, all it takes is a doctor's note saying a patient is a good candidate to use marijuana for medical reasons. Then a patient can apply for a card from the Oregon Health Division. The patient then can grow, smoke and eat marijuana under certain limits and conditions.
But it's illegal to buy or sell marijuana. ``In the end, this problem is truly only going to be solved when federal law allows doctors to prescribe and pharmacies to distribute,'' said Geoff Sugarman, director of Oregonians for Medical Rights.
In the past few months, Doug Bush, 43, was able to get marijuana from a caregiver who had extra. But that supply ran out. Despite his apparent strength, Bush can be found occasionally lying in bed, crying and praying that the pain will stop. The Bushes hope to find a caregiver who can grow marijuana for them.

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