Veterans key to medical marijuana lobby efforts

By SOPHIA TAREEN, Associated Press

 

CHICAGO (AP) — When a constant, “sputtering” pain grips Jim Champion‘s arms and legs, the Army veteran says only one thing brings him relief: marijuana.

Champion, who suffers from a progressive form of multiple sclerosis, hopes his experience with marijuana as medicine will help bring relief to other suffering veterans in Illinois. He’s told his story to Gov. Pat Quinn, who now faces a decision whether to sign a measure legalizing medical marijuana in the state.

The veteran, who met Quinn in 2011, says his illness started with blurred vision when he was in the military 25 years ago and ultimately left him a quadriplegic reliant on his wife for care. Pills he took to control pain, which causes violent tremors and leaves him at times unable to open his fists, killed his appetite and turned him “into a zombie,” he says. At the same time, the marijuana his wife adds to baked goods relaxed him.

“My nerves kinda shut off. They quit jumping, sputtering,” Champion said. “So far I’ve found no medicine that’s capable of doing that.”

 

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