“I will not issue you any more prescriptions because I’m not going to leave your children orphans.”
When Dawn Jobe heard these words from her doctor years ago, she opted instead for marijuana.
For years, Jobe had consulted specialists and downed countless anti-inflammatory drugs and other pain relievers to treat numerous traffic accident and work injuries.
After alarming results of several liver function tests – blood tests used to help detect liver disease or damage – she was warned she’d have to find an alternative to treat her pain.
“When he told me that I was no longer allowed to use pharmaceuticals, I started using marijuana on a regular basis, and was able to use it the way it’s supposed to be used – for medication,” she said.
Today, Jobe uses the drug to treat her numerous ailments, including fybromyalgia, anorexia, degenerative joint disease, asthma, chronic pain and post-traumatic stress disorder.
She’s been a medical marijuana patient for five years.
“It’s not for everyone. Some people may never need or find the use for it,” she said. “But for a lot of people it’s the only thing that helps.”
However, there is increasing pressure by those in the legal community and officials to regulate or stop the growing of medical marijuana altogether. Abuses by those alleging they were growing it for medical purposes have pushed officials to seek a crackdown on growing marijuana.
Jobe, 46, and a single mother of two, said she’s researched cannabis for years and says it does more good than harm.
“They’re doing studies all the time about it, and if you really look into it, it’s been used as medication for thousands and thousands of years,” she said.
“It’s just the stigma that our government put on it that has made people shy away from the benefits.”
The drug, she said, only enhances what the human body can do naturally. She said it helps the immune system, works as an anti-inflammatory, helps with asthma attacks, cures skin cancer and she claims it has been shown to reduce and kill tumors.
“Alcohol kills the person that’s ingesting it. It destroys the body from the first sip and you have the potential to harm others.”
“There has not ever been one death caused by consuming marijuana,” she said.
Jobe, who is currently unemployed but is a medical transcriptionist, is allowed by her doctor to grow a minimum of six mature plants or 12 immature plants.
She grows them inside a large greenhouse that was built in the backyard of her north Porterville home by several patients who collectively garden with her.
In the past, Jobe had grown in an open area of her backyard, but after several thefts, the group worked together to build a greenhouse large enough to grow the medication and other fresh herbs and vegetables.
Jeff Faure helped build the greenhouse.
Faure, who is single and lives in a one-bedroom apartment, has grown his medication in Jobe’s garden for a year.
“She grows it for me because I have no room to grow, and she needs the help. She’s not physically able to do the labor,” he said.
The 48-year-old is a third-generation Porterville native and has been using marijuana since he was 14.
It wasn’t until he became a medical marijuana patient that his parents “actually had a fit,” he said.
“I found that it was great for my allergies – I’m allergic to 163 plants and dusts.”
“Before that I was doing steroid shots twice a week, which were very painful. I haven’t had a shot since,” Faure said.
Now he uses it for several reasons, including chronic pain, migraine headaches and insomnia. He also uses it in various ways.
“I smoke it, use vaporizers, bongs, joints and pipes. We eat it, use it as a topical oil, and drink it,” he said, adding that it makes for a tasty medicated pizza or cheesecake.
Brushes with law enforcement
“I have been thieved from.
“And instead of our local law enforcement showing up to help us combat our problem, they spend their time trying to make us the criminal,” Jobe said.
Her encounters with law enforcement, she said, have been unpleasant.
On one occasion, thieves attempted to break into her garden, via her 80-year-old neighbor’s backyard.
The thieves dug a hole and attempted to worm their way under the fence, but fled in fear and left behind a pair of shears and a shovel, Jobe said.
When police arrived, Jobe’s neighbor showed officers the shears, shovel, and even footprints leading to Jobe’s backyard.
“They asked why they wanted to get into my backyard and she told them it was because I was a medical marijuana patient,” Jobe said.
“They looked over the fence and saw my garden and immediately told my neighbor, ‘This is no more than a dog.’”
Officers reportedly rushed to Jobe’s home, pounded on her door and demanded to enter her backyard.
After producing them with her doctor’s recommendations, they insisted on entering her backyard to count her plants and threatened they would obtain a search warrant if she refused. She did.
The officers reportedly took pictures of her plants from her neighbor’s backyard and never returned with a warrant.
The constant helicopter fly-overs, she said, are embarrassing.
“It’s an all-day, week, and weekend thing.”
Last summer, Jobe counted 20, 15-minute fly-overs in her area, she said. During one of those fly-overs, she ran inside her home, wrote down the number of plants she had in her garden on a large piece of paper, and held it up for authorities to see.
She said the continual fly-overs are harassment.
“They are not flying at the normal level, they are so low that I could literally thrown a rock at the copter, I could read the numbers clearly on the copter.”
“Every dog in the neighborhood is barking, everybody is outside waving, it’s ridiculous,” she said.
State vs local law
Part of the reason medical marijuana patients in the area have such negative brushes with law enforcement, is the discord between state and local law, Jobe said.
The intent of Proposition 215, or the Compassionate Use Act of 1996, is to ensure that Californians in need of marijuana for medical purposes can obtain and use it without fear of criminal prosecution.
Most recently, the Porterville City Council met to review modifications to the city’s current medical marijuana regulations.
At the Dec. 7 meeting, the city attorney presented the council with the proposed modifications, which, among other things, prohibit dispensaries and collective or cooperative cultivation or processing within city limits.
“Medical marijuana patients want an ordinance. We are not happy with the fact that we don’t have guidelines by our city and so we’re left to do what the state has told us we’re allowed. When we do what the state law allows and we have an issue and call our local law enforcement, it’s turned around,” Jobe said.
Faure and Jobe believe the regulations are too strict and say it violates their constitutional rights as medical marijuana patients.
“What the city attorney is trying to do is to make it a crime to be a medical marijuana patient in Porterville,” Faure said.
“We want to help them put together a reasonable program, that basically allows safe access to the medicine these patients need. Where they don’t have to get the medication off the street, or have to travel outside to get it, or have to grow it inside their home.”
The modifications would also add provisions to the city’s development code requiring cultivation to occur indoors.
If a patient were to violate any of the proposed regulations, the city would be able to impose civil penalties, such as nuisance abatement, City Attorney Julia Lew said during the Dec. 7 meeting.
“We can abate the nuisance and charge for the cost of abatement. It may not have the same stigma that a criminal citation would have, but we can look at putting in the strongest penalties possible for nuisance abatement,” she said.
“To say this is a nuisance…I don’t understand,” Jobe said about Lew’s comments.
“It’s time people become aware that we aren’t stoners. We are productive members of society. We’re doctors, we’re CEOs of companies, we’re mothers, we’re fathers. We are ill people.”
According to Faure, city officials have agreed to meet next week with a group of medical marijuana patients to discuss the modifications, before the ordinance is brought to the council for a public hearing and possible final adoption. City manager John Lollis said he expects the ordinance on the agenda at the council’s first regular meeting of February.
“Several cities in California have adopted very reasonable programs that allow access to this medication.” Faure said.
“It’s time for this town, which is the All-American City, to stand up and do what’s right for its citizens – all of its citizens.”
Source: Porterville Recorder (CA)
Copyright: 2012 Freedom Communications Inc.
Author: Denise Madrid