John’s Story

When you look at a map of states based on their acceptance of marijuana, Idaho stands out as Prohibition Island. To the north in Canada, to the west in Washington and Oregon, and to the southwest in Nevada, marijuana is legal to possess and use for all adults. To the southeast in Utah and the northeast in Montana, marijuana is legal for medical use. Even to the east in Wyoming, cannabidiol, a marijuana derivative, is legal for medical use.

Idaho is one of just three states remaining (the others being South Dakota and Nebraska) that criminally prohibit the possession and use of any sort of marijuana or its derivatives, even for those using it for medical purposes.

The state in which one lives should not subject one to unnecessary suffering. It is no longer 1996, when California became the first state to pass a law recognizing the medical benefits of cannabis. Nearly two dozen years later, thirty-three states, the District of Columbia, and four of five US territories (Guam, Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, & US Virgin Islands) have medical marijuana laws on the books. Further research has demonstrated what people have known for generations: medical marijuana works.

Idaho should be no different. In 2020, the people of Idaho will join most of the rest of the nation by passing the Idaho Medical Marijuana Act of 2020.

Chief Petitioner John Belville

John Belville is the Chief Petitioner for the Idaho Medical Marijuana Act. His story is like many stories we’ve heard from people young and old who have learned one simple fact: medical marijuana works.

John is 77 years old and suffers from peripheral neuropathy – a stinging, burning nerve pain that is excruciating at times. To treat his intractable pain, doctors put him on a regimen of opiate painkillers like oxycodone and morphine. To treat the side effects from those pills, doctors prescribed another handful of pills.

At 77, however, the body’s organs don’t function as well as they used to. John’s kidneys had already been weakened by illness. Now, under the stress of all the pharmaceutical drugs he’s taking, they are functioning at one-fourth their capacity.

Simply put, if John wants relief from pain, it will definitely shorten his remaining life.

But not if he had the legal option to use safe, effective, non-toxic cannabis to treat his pain. Cannabis that has been shown in scientific studies to be effective even at low doses at alleviating neuropathic pain.

John visited Oregon, where he had the opportunity to try full-spectrum cannabis oil to treat his pain — just the tiniest amount. John explained how he got some of the best sleep he’s had in years. He also talked about the lifting of that “fog” in his mind from the opiates, because he didn’t have to take them all thanks to the oil.

John is a lifelong Idahoan, married to a lifelong Idahoan, who raised three sons in Idaho and still hunts and fishes in Idaho. But while he could use medical marijuana legally in almost every state bordering Idaho, he remains a felon if he uses it in his home state. Please join him and us in supporting the Idaho Medical Marijuana Act.

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