In an effort to expand the voices of the cannabis community, Arizona NORML is honored to share this story from a young cannabis patient and mother and how her life has been affected by cannabis. We also urgently implore you to read to the bottom of the page and learn how the state of Arizona is currently threatening to destroy the lives of people like Darlene Padilla:
Spina Bifida is a birth defect that develops during the first month of pregnancy when the neural tube that will form the brain and spinal cord does not close properly. Surgery to close the spine is generally done within 24 hours after birth, in my case my Spina bifida was detected one year after my birth, & the surgery was done. Spina bifida is a lifelong disability.
Conditions commonly associated with Spina Bifida include hydrocephalus (water on the brain) I am fortunate not to be diagnosed with hydrocephalus, bowel & bladder complications, some of us have serious allergies to natural rubber (latex), learning disability, and partial or full paralysis. Because of the damage to the spinal cord, some of us born with Spina bifida have had multiple surgeries and continued medical care throughout our lives.
Living with chronic pain from the moment of my birth, life has been pretty hard. Learning as my life developed, that Doctors prescribed me as a young child muscle relaxers & narcotics as a pain relief, which are poison with deadly side effects that was not the best nor healthy option. At the time my mother did not know any better either, thinking Doctors know best, & some do, if the Doctors is pro-cannabis. But if they are not, then you or your child will be given poison (narcotics) just like I was given. If you read Spina bifida has bowel & bladder complications, yet narcotics make me constipated that adds on more pain. In 2008, Gastroparesis (slow metabolism, causes pain in the stomach feeling every sensation of the food processing in the stomach & intestines) appeared in my life, and it took me by surprise on a down-hill.
I went from 210lbs to 110lbs in less than 9 months, not being able to drink nor eat anything, & constantly vomiting, to a point that I was vomiting blood. My health dramatically changed with chronic abdominal pain, which positioning my body on a fetal position on top of a pillow helps support me. I have been referred to three different Gastrologists that have passed me on to the next Doctor, to the next Doctor, giving up on me. The silver lining in the middle of the storm, 2011 I received the news I was pregnant, which was a miracle! Back when I was 16 years of age doctors told me I would never be able to be a mother, the doctors said my pelvis was not strong enough to sustain a fetus, that my body would abort the baby.
Unknowingly the Gastroparesis that has caused me so much pain to this day, made me lose so much weight that I was able to get pregnant. Now the conundrum: how to treat my pain without any narcotics? So my PCP, OBGYN, high risk pregnancy doctor, & fetal medical doctor got together and came to the conclusion that the best option for my fetus & myself was to intake medical cannabis, & by taking medical marijuana and not narcotics, my appetite increased, I was able to keep food down & gain back some weight, felt like I was given a new breath of life.
Due to the organic & healing components of medical marijuana, my children were in NO RISK AT ALL!!
I gave natural birth to a beautiful baby girl Maryjane & one year later I gave birth to my handsome son Enoch. Both of my children were born strong and healthy. I thank God for putting this wonderful plant on this earth, because without it my children would of been born with physical & or mental disorders due to all the narcotics I used to be given, or not born at all. But thanks to the quick thinking and open mindedness of the doctors who first suggested Medical Marijuana, it gave me my life back. Now thanks to marijuana I can enjoy life with my family.
–Darlene Padilla is a proud mother of two beautiful children in the PHX metro area
It is almost too much irony to add that today (2/24/16), the day I sit down to post Darlene’s piece, after weeks of fighting a “striker” version of Kelly Townsend’sHB2061, the pregnancy exclusion bill has passed through the Arizona House of Representatives. It is on its way to the Senate, where if it isn’t checked, it will pass again and go to a prohibitionist Governor eager to crush cannabis consumers.
THX in part to your efforts to fight back much of the original language of HB2061 was struck before this compromise version was passed. The original bill called for making pregnancy a disqualifying condition, meaning that if an mmj patient became pregnancy she would have her card revoked. If a pregnant woman applied for a card, she would be rejected. Due to the endocannabinoid cycle within human beings a pregnant woman is at her greatest need of cannabinoids. According to DHS stats there are 10,000 medical card female patients of child bearing age. Who knows how many cases like Darlene’s are out there?
The “new” compromise version of HB2061 no longer explicitly bans pregnant women from getting access to cannabis. It tries to shame them out of it and threatens to steal their babies from them at birth. According to the summary page on HB2061 the signage must specifically warn that there is a “risk of being reported to the Department of Child Safety during pregnancy or at the birth of the child by mandated reporters.” The warning will also appear on a woman’s mmj card application and the card itself. To add insult to injury on this, the individual dispensaries will have to purchase the mandated signage and will in due course pass those costs onto their consumers so women like Darlene will actually have to pay for the privilege of being insulted and humiliated every time she goes to the dispensary to take care of her health according to her doctors’ orders.
The only consolation the cannabis community has is that. LD 9‘s, Dr. Randy Friese, a minority member of the House Health Committee that first handled the bill, insisted on adding the word “potential” beside the word “danger” (as in the “potential dangers”) throughout the document to try to point to the inherent reefer madness in the very notion of the bill. But with that slight caveat the bill passed through the whole House unimpeded.
This will still have to go through the AZ Senate and the chances are good it will sail through if Arizonans don’t act and act now. Darlene had a doctor smart enough to see through the reefer madness, but with HB2061 another wave of false propaganda is launched, prohibitionist win again and pregnant women will bear the burden.
I’m mad as hell. How about you? If so, you know the drill:
We at Arizona NORML are calling on you to call or email your state legislators today to express your support for HB2007 & HB2406.
Here is a sample message.
Hey, my name is ________ and I live in LD ___ [Don’t know what legislature district you live in? Check here] I am calling to speak with my representative/senator about HB2061. I would like to register my opposition to this bill. It goes counter to good public health policy and I encourage Rep. _________________________/Sen. _____________________________ to vote for it. I also request to be scheduled for a meeting with the Sen/Rep to discuss my position on cannabis with him/her.
If you should decide to schedule a meeting Arizona NORML would be happy to assist you in preparing for and attending the meeting. Contact 928-234-5633 for further details.
|Name||District||Party||Room||Phone (602)||Fax (602)|
|Steve Pierce||1||R||Send Email||301||926-5584||417-3101|
|Andrea Dalessandro||2||D||Send Email||312||926-5342||417-3169|
|Olivia Cajero Bedford||3||D||Send Email||314||926-5835||417-3262|
|Lynne Pancrazi||4||D||Send Email||308||926-3004||417-3179|
|Kelli Ward||5||R||Resigned on 12/15/2015|
|Susan Donahue||5||R||Send Email||304||926-4138||417-3067|
President Pro Tempore
|Carlyle Begay||7||R||Send Email||315||926-5862||417-3099|
|Barbara McGuire||8||D||Send Email||314||926-5836||417-3131|
Assistant Minority Leader
|David Bradley||10||D||Send Email||315||926-5262||926-3429|
|Steve Smith||11||R||Send Email||303||926-5685||417-3167|
|Don Shooter||13||R||Send Email||200||926-4139||417-3024|
|Nancy Barto||15||R||Send Email||307||926-5766||417-3261|
|David C. Farnsworth||16||R||Send Email||304||926-3020||417-3119|
|Jeff Dial||18||R||Send Email||304||926-5550||417-3120|
|Kimberly Yee||20||R||Send Email||300||926-3024||417-3110|
|Debbie Lesko||21||R||Send Email||302||926-5413||417-3109|
|Judy Burges||22||R||Send Email||302||926-5861||417-3104|
|John Kavanagh||23||R||Send Email||303A||926-5170||417-3108|
|Bob Worsley||25||R||Send Email||310||926-5760||417-3091|
|Ed Ableser||26||D||Resigned on 9/30/2015|
|Andrew C. Sherwood||26||D||Send Email||305||926-3028||417-3038|
|Catherine Miranda||27||D||Send Email||311||926-4893||417-3116|
|Adam Driggs||28||R||Send Email||309||926-3016||417-3007|
|Robert Meza||30||D||Send Email||311||926-3425||417-3114|