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No Compromise

All day, every day, some part of my body hurts.

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All day, every day, some part of my body hurts. Both knees are shot with bone rubbing on bone. My right hip feels like a bike sprocket. The soles of my feet painfully cry out with every pounding step after step. I can't grab a glass from the kitchen cabinet with my right arm, so I use my left, salvaged by a full shoulder replacement in 2016. All of that, plus, my fingers and wrists lock up tighter than a Stanley Hardware padlock. Did I mention my fingers and wrists? I'm told—by doctors in white gowns and by Dr. Google himself—that my joint pain is due to arthritis.

Migraines come and go; mostly come, it seems. The muscles in both legs, top to bottom have acquired a resistance to Bengay. Nothing soothes them, not even the Voltaren rub I nabbed in Greece, making getting up from a chair a weird combination of adventure and dread. My stomach is a mess. Warm milk at bed time used to help, but I can no longer get the milk out of the fridge (in those odd times I'm even able to get to the fridge). Climbing stairs is like tackling Mount Everest in miniature. The elevator I proudly never used in the City Weekly office is now my best friend.

In the past year, I've had perhaps a dozen nights of restful sleep. I realize that for some, that's a lot, and I'm not meaning to imply I have a luxury sleep pass. I don't. I merely remember those nights, because a few months ago I acquired some edible cannabis products which I ate at bedtime. I slept well. Upon waking, my joints and muscles felt better. I wasn't ready to run a marathon and I didn't become 18 again, but I clearly experienced relief.

Then, my supply ran out.

I'd dabbled with Utah-legal CBD oils and capsules, which offered some relief, but not to the degree that a THC-laden chewy snack did. Around the same time, I was handed a jar of Mary Jane's Medicinals Salve, illegal in our state thanks to its cannabis-infused 90 mg of THCA and 20 mg of THC. In less than a week, my left wrist that was fully inflexible and sore as hell, was working again pain free. Suffice it to say, if Mary Jane's wants a testimonial, I'd be happy to provide one.

I'm just one of the close to half a million Utahns who voted in favor of Proposition 2 earlier this month. I would have voted for it even without my personal trials and testament, and make no mistake: My own needs pale mightily compared to the thousands of Utah patients who traveled the path to enlightenment way before me. Those Utahns are comprised by PTSD sufferers, people battling with opioid addiction, those afflicted with cancer, Crohn's disease or epilepsy, and everyday neighbors with maladies far worse than mine.

Prop 2 passed handsomely despite last minute hijinks by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The leadership of Utah's dominant religion, probably realizing it zigged when its followers zagged, decided to go all in against the initiative. It sicced high-profile minions to do the bidding, including Marty Stephens, a former Utah House Speaker, current LDS church lobbyist and the LDS stake president—also, a man who never met a church or state he couldn't conjoin; Michelle McOmber, fearmonger and CEO of the Utah Medical Association—the pedestal from which she proclaimed Prop 2 was all about recreational use, not medicine. (Tell that to the 1930s American Medical Association and to each of my dozen doctors who all support medical cannabis, Michelle.) And Walter Plumb, pant-leg to Sen. Orrin Hatch, moralist and wannabe bon vivant whose nonsensical antics actually garnered votes in favor of the bill he opposed. Alas, their carrying-ons didn't work, and they were holding a metaphorical baggie of seeds and stems. Then, someone had the vision to fully knee-cap Prop 2 by recognizing defeat and proclaiming victory.

That maneuver is what became known as the "compromise" to Prop 2, which was no compromise at all, but an elaborate bluff the likes of which haven't been seen since the Battle of Fishguard in 1797. At Fishguard, a single, blank cannon shot fired by the British so frightened a French scouting vessel, that the French military gave up the fight and retreated from battle. That's what happened here. Individuals who ostensibly represent Utah patients went into full retreat when Prop 2 opponents threatened to dial up the pressure against the measure. They gave up the ghost. Major medical cannabis patient factions like TRUCE and Epilepsy Utah were not even invited to the secret negotiations. Nor were you.

The public knew nothing of the compromise until it was announced barely a month before the general election. To put it mildly, constituents were pissed. The primary target of their ire was the LDS church, which hasn't suffered similar criticism since it played all the wrong notes on LGBTQ rights more than a decade ago. That's hardly a surprise, though, since it was Marty Stephens, as House Speaker, who did his masters' bidding and championed the loudest against same-sex marriage. This time around, he's moralizing again while nefariously working behind the scenes it appears, only proving that some people—and certain institutions—never learn.

On Dec. 3, a special legislative session will convene to debate, modify and pass some version of the Prop 2 compromise, which only means they are about to nullify your vote and make medical cannabis either hard or nearly impossible to obtain. Don't let them negotiate your health away. Call your local elected officials. Call the governor. Write letters. Take to social media now. You have a voice. Use it. My bones will thank you.

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