By Mary Hadreas

After several years of pharmaceutical treatments for my disease, I was at death’s door. Desperate, I sought out the head of infectious diseases at Stanford Hospital.

After several conventional treatments I had become allergic to everything that the world’s foremost experts could offer me. As a final prescription, the doctor suggested I use cannabis to treat my illness. It saved my life, and I have been a medical marijuana user and advocate for 15 years now.

This was not covered by insurance and, like any treatment, it was and is costly. After attempting to grow one season, I realized that the task was beyond my abilities both physically and mentally. With that realization, I found I needed help to produce enough chemical-free medicine to treat myself for the year.

I was blessed with the help of other members of the medical cannabis community. This allowed me and others to get through a very difficult time. Now, the concept of compassion appears to have been lost in Tuolumne County, where the Board of Supervisors have passed an overly restrictive ordinance.

God forbid that anyone be thrust into this position. This is not simply about “smoking pot.” It is about the myriad ways this misunderstood plant is beneficial in treating a variety of illnesses where conventional medicine has failed.

Our health care system is broken, we all know that and our county representatives have the opportunity to help that injustice for people like me who are allergic to all pharmaceuticals and rely entirely on cannabis.

Six annual plants per parcel are insufficient for this type of treatment. The supervisors’ conclusion to combine the new recreational limits with the current medical regulation is simply lazy and borderlines on criminal. They have stated that this decision is based on the guise of public health and safety.

In this act the board is forcing citizens to make a decision of whether to abide by their interpretation of the law and suffer, or bypass their conclusion entirely and achieve the relief chronically ill patients deserve.

So its real effect literally puts the health, safety and possibly the freedom of many others and myself at risk. Perhaps the board has considered this and that is why they have chosen to just release millions of dollars for the construction of a new jail.

This is fundamentally wrong on so many levels, and it is clear to me that this board of elected officials idea of “due diligence” is biased and fraught with misconception.

There are several successful examples of this concept working in multiple states and counties across this nation, any of which could be adapted here.

With that said I agree that the “within city limits” regulation is in some degree merited. I do not agree with the supervisors’ opinion affecting those well outside that jurisdiction.

Taking into account average yields versus usage needs, this past year’s regulation of 12 plants per script, two scripts per parcel are sufficient for annual medical production. The idea that this county would even consider rejecting the issuing of permits is beyond me, and forcing people to grow indoors only is far more costly and requires and a much higher skill set to achieve a successful crop.

If the Board of Supervisors does not come to an adequate conclusion that takes into account the medical needs of residents and the new state law, it will be perceived by the constituency that this whole “task force” process has been a gross misuse of public funds.

Supervisors can also expect reprisal from voters.

Mary Hadreas lives in Sonora.

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