The following opinion is in response to Tuesday’s Los Angeles City Council vote to cap the number of marijuana dispensaries at 70 and tighten guidelines that push clinics out of neighborhoods and into industrial areas.

As the Executive Director for Beverly Hills, a cancer survivor and a legal cannabis patient, I am filled with mixed emotions about this ordinance.

I am the first person to stand up for the rights of patients, however, there have obviously been some people in Los Angeles abusing the system.

Each day we receive hundreds of emails and phone calls asking for guidance on the latest regulations. The legal system is confusing at best.  Recently I testified before City Council to clarify the need for CLEAR, CONCISE and CONSISTENT legislation.

In my personal life, I am faced with serious health issues that could cost my life due to my inability to qualify for a liver transplant. Does it matter that I have never smoked a cigarette or done drugs of any kind in my life? Apparently not.

I used legal medicinal cannabis during my cancer treatment. While cannabis has saved my life thus far, prohibiting the growth, spread and metastisizing of the tumors throughout my system, I recently learned that the mere fact that I used Cannabis as an alternative health treatment could disqualify me for a life-saving organ transplant. 

My hope and prayers are that the cannabis medicine that I use daily will keep me alive until the laws can change.  I am not alone. Patients like me die each and every day, but the mainstream media does not report that news.

At what point will the general public and mainstream media care about this injustice? 

Meanwhile, I hope that others will join me in the fight for clarification and legalization for medicinal cannabis and the responsible adult use of marijuana.

Cheryl Shuman
Executive Director
Beverly Hills
National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws