Most nights, 52-year-old Marta Portuguez wakes up crying from pain—jolted out of sleep by horrifying muscle spasms that occur without warning. “I cry my eyes out,” she tells The Daily Beast. “It feels like someone is chopping up my legs with a machete or burning them with a torch from the inside out.” Diagnosed with 11 illnesses over the course of 9 years—including severe fibromyalgia and gastroparesis—the former Comcast executive and mother of 6 now knows only 2 levels of pain: excruciating and unbearable.
One of more than 1,000 on the waiting list at New Jersey’s sole legal dispensary for medical marijuana—Greenleaf Compassion Center—her patience is wearing thin. “I keep waiting for them to call,” she says. “I have my card. I’m ready to go. I passed.” Exhausted from the chronic pain that pulsates through her body day and night, she chokes up on the phone. “This is my body. I should be able to obtain any medicine that I deem OK for me. This is not the government’s right to decide!” Her audible anger is telling: Greenleaf won’t be calling anytime soon. There simply isn’t enough medical marijuana to go around in New Jersey—and she knows it.
Three years after former governor Jon Corzine made medical cannabis legal, New Jersey’s pot program is a mess. The Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act of 2010 represented a triumphant culmination of five-year revolution to legalize medical marijuana. Led by groups like the Drug Policy Alliance and patients themselves, like 40-year-old HIV-positive political activist Jay Lassiter, New Jersey joined a list of states including California and Colorado that legalized.
– Read the entire article at The Daily Beast.