First an introduction. My name is David Murphy, I'm 27 years old, born and raised in Halifax, and now live on the South Shore of Nova Scotia. Five and a half years ago I got a knock in the head, which worked its way to putting me in an MRI and finding out I had brain cancer. An operation, one and a half years of chemotherapy, a total mental collapse, and complete change of my world perception and life goals has happened in that time. Cannabis has been a key part of me making it through this, whether as a physical or mental medicine.
Shortly after a dispensary bust in Halifax, which I witnessed, I wrote a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Rather than explain myself, here it is. I did not write as well as I would like to, I was very much still in shock. I've been in therapy for PTSD built up through living with cancer, and it set me back months...
I am a young, epileptic, brain cancer patient (astrocytoma type 2a left temporal lobe) who is prescribed and uses medical marijuana. I was on site for a police raid of our local dispensary yesterday, december third. The events there were a great demonstration of how urgent our need for progressive changes is.
The RCMP and regional police are acting according to what they consider their duties and the best interest of the public. I had a calm exchange with the officer leading the raid and he felt sincerely that this was a detrimental criminal organization taking advantage of the poor. This may be the case of some places, but regardless that judgment should no longer fall on regional police.
While I respected his handling the raid, the goal and results were not positive. It left patients without their purchases, traumatized, and not knowing where to turn next. Most of them could not afford the online vendor products, or are more interested in ones that aren't available yet. Such dispensaries arise for a reason. The prices and variety of product available at them is a start, but they also foster communities and empathy between patients, and allow a feeling of connection to the care and product you are receiving.
While I waited in line for my turn to go purchase my cannabis I was told a story from an older man about how it had helped him get off hard drugs, get a job, and reconnect with his family. Another patient in there was a nurse practicioner with PTSD from childhood events. They are often there, and it shows that they feel comfort and support in the atmosphere.
I do respect some of the developing corporate interests in the industry, and have high hopes for further improvements. However there is some need to respect the community and the value it has unto itself. These kinds of raids are detrimental to our society, and the future of legal marijuana. I am unable to express myself clearly in 2000 characters. Any contact would be greatly appreciated.
For recognition, two months later I got a formal reply discharging my letter to the Health Minister, who never replied. This morning, finally reaching the edge of my patience, I tried one more time:
With the time that's passed and the world events within it, and upcoming, I strongly believe it is the Prime Minister who needs to be addressed on this issue. We need Canada to represent a progressive movement in drug legislation on all fronts at the upcoming UN convention, but in particular we need a brave and strong voice on the front of medical cannabis and its place in our society.
I am sick and tired of being a young man living with a malignant cancer inside my head, terrified of having the seizure that could cost me my lifestyle and independence, sleepless nights before the six-month interval MRIs that tell me my fate and my future.
I pay exorbitant amounts of money to a fuzzy borderline black market of dispensaries, because I see no value in and have no support for our current system. The MMAR set a precedent of an effective relationship with the frontier of medical cannabis. In an area so poorly understood, so unresearched, but with a broad scale recognition of its values, to deny patients like me the ability to provide for themselves and seek to look after themselves to their best is just wrong. I am fighting for my life, and deserve to do so by the means I consider necessary.
I will be VERY clear. I will not be satisfied with any legislation that does not allow me to grow my own medicine. There is no justifiable reason to make that impossible that I will even consider recognizing. I am growing hundreds of tomatoes this year for market sale, and there is no greater risk in growing my medicine than doing so. There are people brewing beer and wine in their basements all around me, binge drinking to excess, wrecking their cars and waking me up in the middle of the night to respond to the emergency call as an MFR with our volunteer fire department. I have no patience whatsoever for the presence of tobacco and alcohol in our society while cannabis is illegal. On all fronts it has been proven they are more harmful to our health and decision making.
I strongly support Dana Larsen, and will continue to do so regardless of how he is handled by the law enforcement agencies. It is time for people struggling with their physical and mental health to be granted the freedom to look after themselves.
The wait is OVER. It is time for these changes. I have great hopes and expectations of hearing a brave, clear voice from our nation at this upcoming convention. We really do need to restore ourselves as an example of a socially progressive, welcoming nation. I, frankly, lost hope in us in our time with Harper at the helm. I saw us as an extension of America. With the change in this election, the upsurge in voters and promises we were given I felt my hope begin to build again.
I desperately hope to get better recognition of this letter than my last. A delayed reply discharging me to someone who never replies was a lack of recognition I found deeply hurtful. I know I am not a publicly profiled individual, my voice isn't loud enough to get into the media, but as a young man who is a citizen of this country and whose very life sits in the hands of its leader, I really hoped I would get at least some recognition.
I gave that hope up for a while after, but I've found motivation again just recently and am going to stand up for myself. Another six month MRI post-chemotherapy with no growth, and even the slightest chance that cannabis is contributing to that is worth me taking a stand, and taking risks. I'm fighting for my life. There is no greater drive than the desire for survival. I will do what it takes to look after myself.
Please, please, I am absolutely begging you. Help me survive, help me find peace and happiness, and let me begin to grow my medicine as I am beginning to grow my food. I just want to live..
Days ago, I never expected to have my message heard like this. I appreciate the chance from all the people and media who have helped me. It's another great signal of hope that we will see real progress on this issue. The more people who support this movement, the stronger it becomes. We'll see what comes next.
A version of this blog was first published on Reddit.
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