To the editor of THE EAGLE:

As a person who suffers from two medical conditions which are known to be greatly helped by the properties of medical marijuana, I have been actively following the events in the process to establish dispensaries. I am saddened, but not surprised, by the actions taken in that process.

I have also been trying to get my ducks in a row toward when I will be able to ditch the dangerous medications I am currently forced to accept in order to function and live a lifestyle with at least a bit of quality. In seeking out that simple letter of recommendation from my doctor I was told that he would not participate in giving anyone such a letter but that I was free to find another doctor who would. So I began to make some phone calls to canvas other doctors who might be willing to help me avoid the damage to my liver that my current drugs are certainly causing.

In seeking out new doctors I find that many either will not accept my insurance, or they will not take on new patients, and the ones who do have expressed the same unwillingness to be involved in writing this simple letter. Now bear in mind, I am looking for a letter that recommends that I be allowed to have access to marijuana for medical reasons. It is not a prescription. It does not mean that the doctor must further involve himself in that aspect of my care. So why would that be so difficult for a doctor to write? Why would a doctor prefer to have me taking medication that is potentially lethal rather than let me have access to a drug that is proven to be safe and effective -- through far more studies than other drugs have been forced to endure?

What can be the cause? I believe that it is fear. As long as the federal laws are against medical marijuana I think many of these doctors will fear to put pen to paper so their patients can have access to a drug that is classified as illegal on a federal level. If that is true, how will those of us who truly desire to live a safe and productive life gain access to just that? How will this be addressed once the dispensaries are open? I am not looking to get "high" and I don’t smoke cigarettes. I just want the relief from the constant, debilitating suffering I live with every single moment of my life!

So, my question is, if we get a dispensary (and one close enough for me to have access to on a regular basis) how will I and others like me find a doctor who isn’t just "selling" letters. The expense of the drug will not be covered by my insurance like the poison I currently am forced to use. That expense alone is something I will find difficult. How far must I travel, and how far will I have to go for primary care if local doctors will not participate?

There is much more to this situation than just passing a law that pushes the state government to accept that people want this to be available. We have taken one step, but so much more needs to be addressed, and it needs to be done on a federal level as well.

BONNIE SPENCER

North Adams