Saturday, February 22, 2003
By Beverley Ware
The Daily News
Every morning begins the same for Steve Magaffin. He heads straight to the bathroom with severe diarrhea, then throws up. An hour later, he must settle his stomach enough to take the myriad of medicines that keep him alive — and that means smoking a joint.
Magaffin has HIV. The medicines that help keep his immune system strong make him very sick and extremely gaunt.
“It’s not so much a battle with HIV at this point; it’s more a battle with the side effects of the pharmaceutical medicines,” he said.
The only way he can stomach the medicines, and the slightest bit of food, is with marijuana. Magaffin has racked up bank loans and credit cards to the tune of $40,000 in the past five years to pay for his medicinal marijuana.
Instead of heading to a pharmacy to get his medicine, he has clandestine meetings in parking lots and on street corners.
Magaffin spoke at a forum yesterday organized by Maritimers Unite for Medical Marijuana, headed by multiple-sclerosis patient Debbie Stultz-Giffin of Bridgetown.
She said the federal government’s Medical Marijuana Access Regulations are “an abysmal failure at meeting the needs of chronically ill and dying Canadians.”
Her husband was convicted of growing the marijuana his wife is allowed to smoke to alleviate the symptoms of her illness.
Senator Pierre Claude Nolin, who chaired the Senate Special Committee on Illegal Drugs, told the small gathering yesterday that he completely agrees with them.
“There’s no such thing as compassionate access to marijuana,” he said.
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