The following letter was sent to DRCNet member Carl Olsen from Allen Helmers, a medical marijuana patient in Iowa. Carl has also forwarded a doctor's letter confirming Helmer's statements, which we will provide upon request.
I am a 48-year-old single male on disability because of Chronic Pain Syndrome & Fibromyalgia brought on by my breaking my back in two places in 1981. I have since broken a total of three more vertebrae and my lower leg in 14 places when struck from behind by an uninsured drunk driver in August of 1994 while on my motorcycle. I have been operated on 16 times to save my left foot which left my leg over an inch shorter which aggravates the broken vertebrae in my lower back, two of which are not healed and will probably require surgery.
I have tried every remedy the doctors could give me to find little or no relief and unbearable side effects, memory loss, impotence, stomach bleeding and ulcerations, and other troubling symptoms, and I've found that marijuana gives me the best relief from the pain and muscle spasms without the debilitating side effects of the other drugs. It even allows me to do some part time work at lawn mowing which I couldn't do without it.
In February 1994 the Tri-County Task Force invaded my home with a warrant for green stuff, white powder, drug records, and any assets resulting from drug trade. I gave them the 90 grams of pot I had and was hand-cuffed. They proceeded to ransack my house and badger me all the time, refusing me a call to a lawyer. I was accused of being a major meth dealer according to their reliable informant, although after two hours of searching my one-bedroom apartment, they could find no trace of anything to do with powder. I told them, and I have maintained since, that I use pot for medical reasons and I don't abuse it and I don't deal it.
I was put on probation for 2 to 5 years intensive, suspended two 5 year sentences and given $1800 in penalties to pay to the court.
With the pain I must endure I have not been able to stay away from pot, I need the relief. It has put me in trouble with Court Services and I am now being violated and going back to court to hear my fate in a few weeks. I never lied to my probation officer and admitted without urinalysis that I would be dirty and tried to give him the best information I could find on my medical conditions so he might be able to understand what I live through every day. Fibromyalgia has the same level of pain and is as disabling as Rheumatoid Arthritis.
I have found a doctor who says marijuana is the best and safest thing I can take for this problem because when you get into the pain drugs for chronic disorders you have to face the toxicity problem, the pain killers themselves will end up killing me.
So in good conscience if it need be I will do my time, but I don't and I can't feel like I'm a criminal because I use a substance that enables me to at least function part time.
The drunken driver who ran me down was given 7 days in jai1 and 18 months probation. Tell me where the justice is? I don't see it. I will remember her deed with every step I ever take because of the pain she left me with.
I will battle my afflictions the best I can as I have, but I know being locked up and deprived of the medicine I need I know I will go down hill fast. I can only hope my suffering might somehow help someone else down the road.
If anyone has any advice or help feel free to contact me. Help is direly needed as being laid up this long has drained me financially and emotionally and my time is running out. I leave it in God's hands now. Thank you.
Allen D. Helmers
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