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Patients Fear Stigma, Shop Owners See Needs in Medical Marijuana

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Saugatuck, MI –The inside of The Great Turtle Emporium reflects owner Larry Darling's passions – carved wood sculptures, historic post cards and maps from Saugatuck and Holland, books and vinyl record albums.

"I love the history of the area," he said.

Looking at the small shop at 3383 Blue Star Highway and Darling's low-key manner, it's hard to imagine that he is the center of a medical marijuana controversy in Saugatuck Township. Dozens of people packed the township hall June 1 – the crowd numbers rivaled those devoted to the Aubrey McClendon lawsuits – to discuss a moratorium on medical marijuana facilities.

The board blocked any new facilities for at least three months while it works through zoning issues, but allowed two existing sites to remain open.

During the meeting, speakers shared emotional stories and fear of being stigmatized by their use of medically prescribed marijuana to relieve chronic pain.

Laura Bossardet of Holland said she was afraid at first to talk because of what people would think.

She was on pain medication and couldn't walk before she became a state-approved medical marijuana patient.

"Since I started using medical marijuana, I can now walk," she said standing in the crowded township hall.
Some said they lead normal lives with their families and jobs and use marijuana as a pain reliever.

"The convenience factor on this road would be good for me," said one Saugatuck Township man, anticipating less travel time.

He would not share his name, still afraid of what people would think of him.

Darling knows the feeling.

"I was scared to go public about it," he said. "There's quite a stigma about it."

At 60 years old, though, he said going public to help people in pain was worth any risks.

"I decided to go with my passions – antiques and music. Part of it is helping people," he added. His clients have gone through a doctor and have state approval to use marijuana.

"We're talking about medicine," he said.

"Are these people we want to ignore or do we want to help these people? Personally, I want to help these people."
Tammy Jacobi, a registered nurse for 10 years who opened her facility at 3129 Blue Star Highway June 1, was also driven by the desire to help people.

"I saw a need," she said.


News Hawk- Jacob Ebel 420 MAGAZINE
Source: hollandsentinel.com
Author: Jim Hayden
Contact: Contact Us
Copyright: GateHouse Media, Inc.
Website: Patients fear stigma, shop owners see needs in medical marijuana
 
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