Situated in an average looking warehouse in Anaheim, California, the only unusual thing a casual observer might notice about the administrative offices of Patient Med Aid is the high proportion of visitors using wheelchairs and walkers. When visitors come inside and talk to Martin Modiano, the Executive Director of Patient Med Aid, they realize they are looking at a new kind of health care agency. They provide free medical marijuana for severely ill patients. AIDS and cancer patients are the current target group, but the organization provides free medication for MS patients, veterans suffering from PTSD, rheumatoid arthritis, and other severe ailments.
Mr Modiano, an AIDS patient himself, hadn’t given the healing virtues of cannabis much thought until he interacted with people at the AIDS center and found out how much it helped them. Working with the patients, he also discovered some deeply disturbing aspect of the medical marijuana market:
- 1. Most of the people who benefit from marijuana the most are the least able to physically grow the plant themselves.
- 2. Patients don’t have the space to grow. Frequently they have had to downsize their living space because of the financial and physical drain of the disease.
- 3. They cannot afford the equipment needed to properly grow the cannabis in the medical quality they need.
- 4. They don’t have the experience and knowledge needed to properly grow cannabis of the quality they need.
- 5. They don’t have the time to wait for a crop to grow.
- 6. They don’t have the money to purchase marijuana in a collective or in the underground market.
Being a scientist, Mr Modiano sought a solution for the problems of legal medical marijuana. So he created the Free Med Aid Program in which severely ill patients of dread diseases are given a quantity of medical marijuana to help them with their illness. Medical marijuana farmers give a portion of their crop to the program and, in return, the growers are given a 3” binder of patient stories. Each of these stories starts with a picture of the patient and a copy of their doctor’s recommendation. They then show a copy of the primary physician’s evaluation of their condition, hospital records, copies of prescriptions, and SSI disability declaration. If the grower or transporter is ever apprehended by police, he can show the officer this binder and explain that the marijuana he is transporting or growing is free medicine for these patients. And these patients will be at the police station in their wheelchairs with the press following them to recover their medicine.