As states nationwide struggle over whether to legalizemedical marijuana, it turns out there are two people in the United States who already have thenod from Uncle Sam to legally use cannabis.
On Wednesday night,one of them spoke to students at University of Central Florida as part of an on-campus group's Medical Marijuana Month series.
Local members of The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, or NORML, are lobbying Central Florida voters hard to pass an initiative on November's ballot to legalizemedical marijuana in the state.
Part of thatpush included a visit by guest speaker Irvin Rosenfeld, an author and the only Florida resident who can legally use cannabis.
Midway thru ourinterview, Rosenfeld pulled out an oil-based cannabis cigarette and tooka few puffs.
"It's just taking medicine. I don't know if you'd want to have someone oncamera injecting insulin, but that's what it is. It's a medicine prescribed bya physician," he told us.
In fact, Rosenfeld, 61, is the longest surviving medical marijuana patient in the country.
For the past31 years, he tells us Uncle Sam has been sending him a tin of 300 marijuanacigarettes monthly -- a medical prescription of 10-a-day -- as well as cannabis in an oil form, to treat a severe bone disorder.
At the age of10, he was diagnosed with bone tumors and says doctors didn't think he wouldmake it to his 20s.
"The cannabis works as a muscle relaxant, anti-inflammatory forpain, and has kept the tumors fromgrowing," he said.
Rosenfeldwrote a book three years ago outlining the federal program that once existedallowing patients like him to get a federal prescription for cannabis. But thefederal government shut down the programdown in 1992. Now, heand one other person have the federal nod. Rosenfeld says 11 others have died.
"I wish others would have the same affordability I do, to have medical cannabis,but the feds haven't done it," he said. "In 1996, states said 'I'm tired of making criminals out of our sickpatients,' and began to pass their own laws. I'm proud to say we now have 50 percent of the country under state lawsallowed to use their medicine."
We asked Rosenfeld if he would be driving after using the cannabis. He answered,"I get no euphoric effect from cannabis, but I'm unique. Not many people are likethat. Some are."
At thepublishing of this report, we were unable to reach the Food and Drug Administration to find outprecisely why the federal program Rosenfeld uses was discontinued.