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Gone to pot

| 06 Mar 2012 | 03:51

Medical marijuana is legal in New Jersey — sort of. Since the legislation was born, the list of conditions that qualify a patient to use cannabis has shriveled to a handful of diseased like terminal cancer and multiple sclerosis. That means a lot of sick people who thought they were going to qualify have had to readjust to a new reality.

Darrell Milligan, of Sussex, suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in addition to chronic physical pain and constant muscle spasms. As a marine, he helped with post-earthquake body recovery in Japan in 1995. All the news about Japan right now is bringing back a flood of memories.

The veteran health care system put Milligan on an ever-increasing dose of Wellbutrin, Pristiq and Xanax. “I was literally taking handfuls of pills,” he told Dirt. But the drugs rendered him non-functional.

Then he discovered marijuana. It worked. But his ailments won’t get him a medical marijuana ID card in New Jersey, and so notwithstanding a doctor’s note, his pot use makes him an unfit father in the eyes of a custody judge. For now, Milligan is only allowed supervised custody of his kids. He can pay $150 an hour to see them at a government building, or not see them at all.

“It’s incredibly painful to be here,” he said. “The way things stand is I just have no recourse at all.” When we reached Darrell in April, he was packing his bags and heading to Oregon, where he plans to get his medical marijuana card and grow pot.