Lynch: Musings from a pothead – Waking up

Published 9:59 am Thursday, January 12, 2023

Shocked, bewildered, disappointed….this is insane. 

I had all the feelings plus the notion that our country is beyond foolish when I read a current article from The Wichita Eagle newspaper describing an ugly incident that recently occurred at a hospital in Hays, Kansas. 

It seems that a 69-year-old terminally ill cancer patient with only weeks to live was arrested on Thanksgiving in his hospital bed for the possession of cannabis. Greg Betz, who had been in hospice care, was using a low THC vape pen and edibles to control his devastating pain and help allow him to keep down the food that he could eat. Well, it turned out that one of his nurses didn’t like the fact that Mr. Betz was consuming an illegal product on her ward, so she called the police. 

Two officers soon showed up at Betz’s bedside where they confiscated his cannabis medicine and promptly arrested him for cannabis possession. Since Mr. Betz was totally bedridden, he was told that he would have to appear in court January 2nd to be arraigned for his cannabis infractions. Unfortunately, Greg Betz passed away a few weeks before he was supposed to be in court to answer for his “sins”.

I was reminded by the Executive Director of the Michigan Cannabis Industry Association, Robin Schneider, that this type of thing happened in Michigan only a few years ago. Before legalization. A cancer patient at University of Michigan Hospital had edibles in his room and when the nurse found them, he asked her if she’d like one in jest. He had a great sense of humor right until the end, but that nurse called the police. His son was shocked to find out that his now deceased father had received a summons to appear in court and the county had actually filed charges against him!

I too had a similar (not as drastic) situation with my Dad dealing with his Parkinson’s. He was 89+ in a 24hr senior care facility in Massachusetts and having trouble keeping food on his spoon and fork. I brought in some gummies to see if it would help with his tremors. Not surprisingly -they helped tremendously – he was able to feed himself with much less shaking. 

When I told/showed his charge nurse the effect I thought she would be excited since she had expressed great concern about his difficulty feeding himself, instead she reported me to administration. The next day I was read the riot act and told if I gave him more cannabis that I would be reported to the police. This was almost two years after Massachusetts had legalized adult use. The care facility stated that they were funded by the federal government and any cannabis use could jeopardize their ability to operate. Ignoring their objections, I continued to administer gummies to my Dad silently, until he passed away several months later. 

I am now 66 years old. I don’t want any government agency or law telling me what I can and cannot consume to improve my health or physical condition. I was brought up to believe that this country was the “home of the free and the brave”. Well with the draconian cannabis laws and regulations that still exist in many states this country doesn’t feel very free and the cowards who insist cannabis is not a natural medicine need to open their minds to further education and knowledge. If I ever need to go into a senior care facility, I hope to go in on my own terms. 

I want to be able to consume cannabis as an alternative to opiates and pharmaceutical sedatives that are now used like candy in these care facilities. Even though cannabis is 100 percent legal in Michigan, cannabis cannot be consumed in a medical care facility. When will this country finally wake up?

George Lynch is the owner of Green Stem Provisioning in Niles. He loves to share his  knowledge and passion for cannabis and to dispel the misinformation surrounding the cannabis plant.