Note:  As of today’s date, no replies to these emails (above and below) have been received.

Wed, Jul 15, 2015 8:16 am

To: Dr. Steven Jenison (
Re: An alternative to suicide?

Dear Dr. Jenison:

I was happy to hear of your reinstatement to the Medical Advisory Board for the Medical Cannabis Program, and your successful efforts so far, especially on behalf of chronic pain patients.

I am writing to you because I am in desperate need of help. I’ve written to the Department of Health, Lynn Hart (formerly with the State Medical Board), all of the Producers in the program, the Drug Policy Alliance, Medicare, the Social Security Administration, and Dr. Katzman at the UNM Pain Center — all to no avail. (See links below.)

I have suffered from intractable pain for 30 years. I moved from Texas to New Mexico for the Medical Cannabis Program, but after a year as a member, I could no longer afford the program. The move and a year in the program have wiped me out financially. I couldn’t even afford to see a doctor to update my Long Term Disability insurance, and my benefits have since been terminated.

While I understand I now only have to see one doctor for re-certification, that annual expense will reduce my ability to pay for the medicine I need on a daily basis. Why pay to join the program when I can’t afford to pay for an adequate amount of medicine? Not to mention that during the year I was in the program, 80% of my purchases were not strong enough to treat my chronic pain.

And my medical records (MRIs, etc.) are over five years old, which appears to mean that I will have to pay for updated tests to be eligible for New Mexico’s program. In my letter to Medicare, I’ve asked if these expenses would be covered, but it’s been over 4 months and I haven’t received a response.

Since I was approved for Social Security Disability, why can’t that be good enough for the Medical Cannabis Program? Why must I continually have to pay for doctors to review my medical records to prove once again that I am disabled by intractable pain?

Even with my very limited financial capabilities, I’ve been trying to save money to move to Colorado where the cost of medicine is more affordable. I really thought I would be able to suffer through this period without any way to manage my pain, but I now realize that will be impossible. And do you know how I know this? Because I’m sitting here thinking about buying a gun. It’s a sad fact that it’s easier and less expensive to purchase a gun in New Mexico than it is to purchase medical cannabis.

So I find myself once again begging some stranger for help and/or advice. Thanks for reading this email.

Johnna Stahl

(Photo taken 2/19/2015.)

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