L.A. Councilman Bill Rosendahl Shares His Medical Marijuana Story

Twenty years ago, it might have been something of a scandal: An L.A. councilman taking a reporter along to introduce her to his drug dealer, and even give her a tour of the place.
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Our Los Angeles marijuana lawyers know that’s exactly what happened recently when Councilman Bill Rosendahl, a cancer patient who also suffers from diabetes and chronic pain, did when he opened up to a Los Angeles Times reporter recently.

The whole scenario, so unthinkable just two decades ago, illustrates how far we have come with regard to acceptance and accessibility of medical marijuana. It also shows that, despite the decentralized and therefore chaotic approach the state has taken with regard to regulation, medical marijuana probably isn’t going anywhere – no matter how “tough” the feds try to get on it. It’s become too deeply ingrained in who we are. What’s more, the benefits, particularly over traditional drugs, are undeniable, as also detailed in the Rosendahl story.

Rosendahl told the reporter that last July, just as the city council was moving full speed ahead with legislation to block medical marijuana dispensaries, the 67-year-old Rosendahl learned he had cancer. It was a rare form that manifested in the portions of his intestines between his bladder and kidney. At that time, he already had a medical marijuana card that he had been given 10 years earlier for pain relief from neuropathy, a side effect of his diabetes.

But he didn’t use that card regularly, Rosendahl said. The cancer, though, made him desperate. He said his doctor told him to nix the chemotherapy treatments and prepare himself for death. He refused. But the chemotherapy was accompanied by excruciating bouts of pain.

it was so bad, Rosendahl said, The pain that shot up and down his back would not let him sleep. He was also immobilized on his back for much of the day. He began to develop bedsores.

Traditional pain medications like Oxycodone only worked for short spurts of time, and he began feeling as if he needed it more and more – unsurprising given that many painkillers are powerfully addictive.

Medical marijuana, he says, gave him his life back. It was the only substance that provided him with any relief. He takes it by alternating between a vapor and a cooked down butter that he spreads onto organic toast.

He is getting a full nights’ rest. The pressure sores are gone. He has an appetite. He isn’t cancer-free, but his doctors say they are amazed with his progress.

When it came time for council to debate action with regard to its earlier ban, following the rapid collection of signatures supporting a measure to repeal, Rosendahl used his own story to voice favor for lifting the ban. He said it became personal, and he at one point asked his fellow council members to look at him and ask themselves whether they were Ok with taking away his pathway to life.

His words apparently struck a chord, as the ban was ultimately repealed.

Now, we await a vote in May with three separate options that will determine what the face of medical marijuana distribution will look like in L.A.

The Los Angeles CANNABIS LAW Group represents growers, dispensaries, collectives, patients and those facing marijuana charges. Call us at 714-937-2050.

Additional Resources:
Here’s why medical pot isn’t going away, March 8, 2013, By Gale Holland, Los Angeles Times
More Blog Entries:
Irvine Medical Marijuana Purchase May Cost Couple $1.5M Building, March 14, 2013 Los Angeles Medical Marijuana Lawyer Blog