Medical marijuana lawsuit: Why AIDS patient Damien LaGoy signed on

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Earlier today, we told you about a just-filed lawsuit against Colorado's medical marijuana laws, which officially went into effect today. Plaintiffs in the suit include Kathleen Chippi, the activist behind it, plus the Patient Caregiver Rights Litigation Project, the Colorado Patients' Alliance, the Rocky Mountain Caregivers Cooperative, Greenfaith Ministry and one other person: Damien LaGoy, who suffers from AIDS. Why did LaGoy sign on?

"They've really gone against the constitution with this whole system of laws," he says. "And one thing that really worries me is the idea of videotaping all transactions. My dispensary is in a very public place, and my face is out there. I weight 100 pounds and I stand five-eight -- and I've been mugged before. It's not pleasant: My jaw was broken and took eight or nine weeks to heal, and I don't need to lose any more weight. And with this whole system basically putting me on display, well, the entire scenario is very upsetting."

As a result of his condition, LaGoy suffers from severe nausea and a lack of appetite. Medical marijuana provides more relief from these symptoms than any other substance -- and he stresses the word "medical" in the description.

"I can't always afford to go to my dispensary," he says, noting that his original caregiver's case of muscular dystrophy has advanced to the point where he can no longer bend over and care for plants. "So sometimes I have to go to old street sources -- and there's a real difference. Even my roommate noticed that when I smoke the street stuff, it helps the nausea, but it doesn't do anything for my appetite. But when I smoke the medical stuff, I attack the refrigerator.

"When you have an attack at four o'clock in the morning, and you start throwing up and can't stop, you feel so helpless and alone. You just want to close your eyes and go to sleep. And medical marijuana is the only thing that helps."

LaGoy doesn't consider himself to be particularly political. But he's proud that his name is on the MMJ lawsuit. In his words, "I don't like it when the government is so intrusive that they have to know every aspect of my health. And that's what's happening."

More from our News archive: "Ned Calonge on leaving as CO's chief medical officer & the "distraction" of medical marijuana."

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