a little something extra

a little something extra

Saturday, March 24, 2012

My Hero

Whenever i’m asked who my hero is, I always say my husband, Scott.   He is the gutsiest person I know; just this past week he talked a big-name personal injury lawyer to write a $7500 check.  And not for himself, for a friend.

Some background:  Scott is a medical marijuana patient.  Nevada has amended its State constitution to accommodate specific patients who find cannabis to be the best palliative for their symptoms.  However, the plants must be grown and harvested by the patient; the amendment does not mandate for licensed stores, like Colorado or California.  Patients, even those who are crippled, in pain, or have just months to live must either grow their own (which takes months), buy illegally off the street, or try an ersatz  “delivery service”. Before Scott’s first grow was mature, he obtained his medicine from a trailblazing dispensary owner, John,  who is an amazing individual.  John was born with a genetic mutation which deforms his body terribly--he has no arms, just hands at his shoulders, and short misshapened legs--and unable to take any anti-inflammatories, aspirin, or narcotic pain-killers.  He spends his life in pain, and smokes weed for pain control.   

John decided to open a non-profit medical marijuana dispensary in 2010 to help people.  He got a city business license, hired knowledgeable employees, and opened his office.  It was a low-key operation, and the few times I went with Scott to pick up meds I was filled with compassion for some of the people I met there.  Often, there was a progression:  first the patient  would come in themselves, then their caretaker, and eventually no one, which meant the person had died.  

Over time, Scott and John became friends.  Because Scott always wears tie-dye, John nicknamed him The Hippie--he’d call the house and ask “is the Hippie home?” if I happened to answer the phone.  After Scott  harvested his crop he stopped going to the dispensary but they kept in touch.  

John was busy.  His dispensary had a good reputation.  Marijuana is not all the same; it varies in potency and effects--in fact  it’s bred and hybridized just like corn or apples for a specific use.  One strain might be better for migraine and another for glaucoma.  The key is reproducibility and reliability.  If you’ve just had a grueling chemo treatment or your head is exploding you want medicine that works effectively, the same way, every time.   And that was the thing  at John’s dispensary, you knew what you were getting would provide relief for your specific symptoms.

After about a year of quiet operation, the federal government decided to crack down on the dispensaries in the area.  (Evidently President Obama lied.)  John was arrested in the first sweep through the valley.  The DEA were physically rough during the raid.  Scott spoke to John after the arrest and he was worried about his clients, one in particular who was blind and badly treated by the police.  John got 14 months in federal prison, and a couple of months ago was released on parole.   (On a side note, another dispensary owner was recently shut down by the feds and only received a fine; there’s a lot of disparity in the prosecution of these cases.)

John contacted us when he got out, and Scott (along with other friends) got John to and from appointments, helped him move into a small apartment, grocery shop, see the doctor, and restart his life.  John got himself a puppy, so he wouldn’t be lonesome, and started looking for work--he was subsisting on disability and food stamps.  Barely.

Then disaster struck.  One of the conditions of John’s parole was that he had to pay back the Social Security disability that he had mistakenly collected while he was operating his dispensary...even though it was run as a non-profit.  His disability checks would be henceforth garnished--in their entirety--as restitution until the debt was repaid, about ten months, which left John essentially penniless unless he could find a job, and who is going to hire a man with John’s physical disabilities?  


After the initial panic, John called Scott, who calmed him down and helped plan a course of action.  First, he went to the Social Security office, talked to a patient advocate, and his parole officer.  Nobody could do anything, negotiate a payment plan, or help untangle the red tape.  Nobody cared.  Scott was livid.  He hates unfairness.  On John’s behalf, he emailed letters asking for for assistance with this bureaucratic nightmare to the local TV stations, John’s congressman, and the high-dollar injury lawyers in our area.  

Scott’s efforts bore fruit almost immediately.  KLAS replied the next day, their lead investigative reporter George Knapp was interested in the story and set up an interview.  (The first sentence of his reply email was “This is bullshit!”) Joe Heck’s office, (John’s congressman) called and set up an appointment.  And Glen Lerner (the “Heavy Hitter”) of the high-dollar lawyers--via a serendipitous fumble-fingered glitch--responded to Scott with his personal email address.  

With a snarky reply.  Game on, Glen, game on.

Scott initiated a three-hour emailing marathon, at the conclusion of which Mr. Lerner offered to pay the restitution fee himself.  No strings attached.  John and Scott picked up the check together later that day, and went to the Social Security office where John paid his restitution in full.

I’d like to give a shout out to Glen Lerner.  Thank you.

As a result, John’s probation will be shortened, and, most pressing,  he won’t become homeless.  Hopefully people will respond to George Knapp’s TV report, and someone might be able to offer John a job.  Maybe Congressman Heck will be able to get John a fairer shake with his parole...or at least a better wheelchair from Medicaid!  John says life is worth getting up for in the morning.

He says Scott is his hero.

He’s mine, too.

28 comments:

Fuzzy Tales said...

Oh, well done, Scott!

I just don't get the flap about marijuana anyway, whether it's for medicinal or recreational purposes. To me it's the equivalent of drinking (for recreational purposes, I mean). What a gross waste of taxpayers resources, police, etc. to have its use outlawed.

I don't know what Canada's laws are like, though I do know marijuana for medical use is legal. I sincerely hope no one is having the kind of difficulties that John has had, it was bullshit, all right.

Again, well done to Scott!

As an aside, ever seen the British movie "Saving Grace?" Not for medical purposes there. LOL.

Fuzzy Tales said...

P.S. Nice to see a post here again. Good thing I didn't unsubscribe. LOL.

BTW, you have word verification on. Boo. :-)

Mr Puddy said...

I'm totally with John . Your hushby is totally hero ! And Rock !
John is a lucky guy . In these day, yep ! Not much people care !!

The Island Cats said...

Wow! Good going, Scott!!

The Cat From Hell said...

Wow! Way to go Scott (and you!) The process up here in Canada is pretty cumbersome, and is quite a rigmarole, even if you know people in the know. And Even then, if you have not dotted your eye and crossed your ts and talked to all levels of government and policing, things still happen. I can't wait to get through all the hoops as I find the Dr. Drugs for my hubby are costly and have the standard narcotic side effects, that marijuana does not have.
But we shall keep pursuing to a better outcome.
It is so funny how many people I have met in the cat blogosphere have interests, concerns, careers, similar to mine...
Rock on
Nellie's Mom

Andrea and the Celestial Kitties said...

Wow! He is a hero! Great job Scott!

Anonymous said...

Huzzah for Scott! What a wonderful man. :)

BeadedTail said...

Scott certainly is a hero and a very loyal friend! It's wonderful what he did for John and I hope someone does offer John a job!

Tina T-P said...

Good going Scott! The local gendarmes just shut down our 5 local dispensaries - leaving a lot of people in the lurch - I guess we will be a test case to start the end of prohibition in our state.

Old Kitty said...

Yay for Scott! What a hippie!! What a hero! :-)

Good luck to John!! Take care
x

ArtemisiaFSS said...

Scott is our hero too.

dragonlane said...

Oh what to say and where to begin? I'm just appalled. Can I post this to my facebook wall?

Big, big kudos to Scott. Well done. Inspirational.

Terri said...

I'm speechless...glad to hear it has worked out well. Goes to show one should never say they can't make a difference!

Natalie said...

That is an amazing story. Scott definitely is a hero!

The Very Best Cats said...

You do have a hero in your midst Trish. What a good man to help his friend in need and give him a new beginning. Thanks for sharing Jihn and Scott's story. Kudos Scott!

Stacy Hurt said...

OMG, the indecency and unfairness that can happen to one individual when the giant system starts flailing it's own arms due to it's ineffectualness is quite simply appalling!

YAY To Scott for stepping in and helping his fellow human out! And Yay to you too sweet T, for hangin' in and doin your part too. I'm sure during that email marathon there was much discussion and things needed and I'm just certain you are his GO TO Gurl!

You are both covered in awesomesauce!

xoxo
That Woman

Carolyn said...

I reckon you are both heroes! But Scott is awesome. A great guy to have on your side. Weed is illegal totally here in the UK. If you are caught with a little on you they don’t prosecute as it is “for personal use”. But you can’t grow it and obviously you can’t deal it. I don’t break the law, but I have glaucoma and other medical problems and also I have a friend with MS who had to send her son to get some off the street! She actually didn’t find it helped much, but even if it did she would have been breaking the law to continue buying from a dealer. Most people with chronic conditions are left to rot or find their own way to manage. I am not bitter, just a realist lol

Oskar said...

My mom person was a medical marijuana patient. She still has her card, thought she hasn't needed it lately. With the changes they have been making lately she may have to go back to it.

Nubbin wiggles,
Oskar & Pam

The Cat Guy said...

It sounds like you nabbed a good one! Yahoo for Scott.

Also glad to see Watergrrl alive again! Lets not go another few months until the next post!

Laila and Minchie said...

Kudos to Scott! He's a keeper fur sure!

Cheyenne -Millie said...

Scott is a real hero! We hopes that Obama is voted out! And that John gets more of the caring help he needs!

Barb's Cats and Quilts said...

Scott is a hero in every sense of the word. A true inspiration. Well done, Scott.

Meg said...

Good for Scott!!!

Nadbugs said...

What a story. Well done Hippie.

Clarissa said...

We are so proud of Scott and what he did to help John!!! We don't know why marijuana is still illegal and such a big deal. Mom went to a concert one time where she had drunk guys behind her and guys smoking pot in front of her. She said she'd take the behavior of the smokers over the drinkers any day!

And we also wish John the best. He sounds like quite a guy.

fivecats said...

Good for Scott!

The Cat Guy said...

I'm not sure I can hold out much longer for a new post... need some water.... aahhhh....

The Cat Guy said...

oh my, Water Grrl overrun with crickets... come back!