US OH: Up in Smoke

Newshawk: Medical Marijuana
Pubdate: Wed, 1 Sep 2010
Source: Columbus Monthly (OH)
Pages: 81 and 82
Author: Jo Ingles


The Truth Is Medical Marijuana Is a Dead Issue in Ohio. But a Band of
Dedicated Supporters – Including Two Legislators – Refuse to Give Up
on the Idea.

Brandy Zink, who grew up in Westerville, says she was 12 years old
when she took a drag off her first joint at, of all places, a church
camp. She liked it. So she’s kept smoking the stuff, pretty steadily,
since she was 14. But it wasn’t all about getting high (although she
acknowledges that was part of the appeal when she was young). It’s
also because it helps combat the effects of her epilepsy, which she’s
struggled with since birth. Over the years, she’s found that it has
eased muscle pain, reduced stuttering and prevented seizures. “I
notice that when I have access to cannabis, I don’t have seizures,
but when I don’t, I do,” she says. It’s been so effective, she’s
ditched her other medicine.

She used to obtain marijuana through the black market and people she
calls compassionate caregivers. Zink knew, however, that using pot in
Ohio made her a criminal. “Can you imagine living with a debilitating
medical condition and then on top of it, being worried about being
arrested?” she says.

After years of choosing between being in pain or fearing that she’d
get caught using marijuana to alleviate the discomfort, Zink, 33,
decided to leave her Ohio home. She now lives and works in Michigan,
where she possesses a card that allows her to smoke dope legally.