Chronically ill Vermonters left in legal limbo - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Chronically ill Vermonters left in legal limbo

New Haven, Vermont - March 30, 2010

David Millson suffers from multiple sclerosis. In order to alleviate symptoms he's battled for more than 20 years, his doctor prescribes him medical marijuana, which is legal in the state of Vermont.

"For somebody in my position, at least allows me to be happier than I would be thinking about a progressive, dehabilitating disease," Millson said.

Although his use of pot is legal, purchasing it is not. The law only allows people on the marijuana registry to grow their own. But Millson says he's too sick to do it.

"I've tried, but I have all I can do to water the house plants," he said.

That puts Millson and his marijuana sellers in legal jeopardy.

"I get it from people, who get it from people, who get it from people, who probably get it from people that probably grow it somewhere around here," Millson said.

The Vt. Senate shot down a bill that would create a number of state dispensaries where people who are eligible could purchase small amounts of the drug. Vermont police have opposed the creation of dispensaries from the very beginning due to projected crime activity surrounding the centers.

Burlington Police Chief Mike Schirling explained, "In this case, we're talking about creating dispensaries that are going to be targets of crime that will be places where folks interested in distributing something that's worth a lot on the street will want to try and infiltrate in some fashion."

Less than 200 people are currently registered for the legal use of marijuana in Vermont. Pharmacies can't fill medical marijuana prescriptions for those people because the federal government classifies marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug-- which means health care professionals can't legally prescribe it. Doctors must file a form with the state that allows patients with chronic diseases to possess up to 2 ounces.

Melinda Davenport - WCAX News

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