Letters — Regarding Medical Marijuana Legislation

Editor’s note: The Hawaii State Legislature is taking up a number of medical marijuana bills this session, including those that would establish dispensaries in the islands to ensure safe access to marijuana for medical users. Following is one user’s open letter pressing the Hawaii Department of Health’s position against such legislation.

Dear Department of Health,

I am a bonafide medical marijuana patient on the Big Island.  Pahoa Family Health Center (Bay Clinic) has been my “primary care provider” for the last 30 years if I needed one.  I began experiencing back pain about 12 years ago and increasing, finally diagnosed as degenerative disc disease through an MRI in 2010.  At that time I asked my doctor to recommend cannabis, as I did not want to be exposed to side effects from the hydrocodone and other codeine type pain killers.  I was informed that they were not allowed to recommend because they accept federal funding.  Fast forward to December 2014, blue card renewal time in another month, and I again requested a recommendation at my pcp visit last month, and was told again negative.

I get sick to my stomach when I take painkillers, the effect last for hours even after I stop heaving, and as aspirin and other over the counters are ineffective, I had no option buy to obtain the services of a cannabis doctor, who could recommend cannabis, and knows how to instruct me in different preparations such as tinctures and oils that may be rubbed on the skin, in addition to inhalation.

As regards the “bonafide doctor patient relationship”  the DOH has no place instructing doctors and patients about the terms of their relationship, and that could prove dangerous, the same as not seeing a heart specialist if you have heart problems, or having your pcp pull your teeth

Why are you trying to be more restrictive that the Narcotics Enforcement Division?  This does not happen to anyone who takes any other prescription painkillers, why do you discriminate against me because I want to use a plant instead of narcotics?

Thank you for this opportunity to be heard, and I know you will take my comments into consideration.  I will be happy to answer any questions you may have by phone or email.

Sara Steiner

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