About 28

About 28

Mitch from Coombs can grow his meds

‘Marijuana helps 100 per cent. I wouldn’t be able to do anything without it’

Mitch Waller of Coombs is among 28,000 Canadians allowed to grow their own medical marijuana again after a federal judge overturned a ban imposed by the previous government.

“It’s a huge weight off,” said Waller. “I was so worried I was going to have to go back to painkillers again, or go underground and get thrown in jail.”

“I’ve got really severe scoliosis and neurofibromatosis, which leaves me in pain every day, but I stopped taking pain killers a couple years ago,” he said.

“Marijuana helps 100 per cent. I wouldn’t be able to do anything without it,” he said of the pain he described as “a burning stabbing pain like having a knife jabbed in your back.”

He said he used to take 120 Tylenol T3s every month, but now finds the marijuana by far the best medication he’s tried.

“It’s been two long years,” Waller said of the federal government change in March, 2014 which suddenly made it illegal to grow the marijuana the government had previously licensed him to do.

Waller, and about 28,000 other Canadians with a medical marijuana licences (MML), were allowed to keep growing, but did so in an uncomfortable state of limbo, waiting for answers from the government. Waller said a lot of people stopped growing because of the uncertainty.

But some, like himself, were stuck growing their own as the most economical way to get it.

He’d previously explained to The NEWS that his required 20 grams a day would cost him $6,000 per month to buy through the government approved commercial facilities, which he can’t do out of his $900 monthly disability cheque.

In his 109-page decision on Feb. 24, Vancouver-based Federal Court Judge Michael Phelan gave the government six months to work out a lot of details and stressed that his decision had nothing to do with legalization or liberalization of marijuana for non-medical patients.

One of those issues is where people can consume their medicine.

“I just went to a Canucks practice in Vancouver and I had some medication on me,” he said. “I explained to the guy at the door and they had a supervisor come in and look at my paperwork and they said ‘come on in’,” but said he couldn’t smoke it in the building.

He said he believes it should be allowed everywhere, like any medicine, but that he chooses to be pretty discrete, not smoking around kids or other places where the second-hand smoke might bother people.