In November, Florida voters will take to the polls for the general election with the option to vote for or against a proposed constitutional amendment allowing for the medical usage of marijuana. However, one Florida resident has already legally been a major benefactor of medical cannabis for over 30 years.
Irvin Rosenfeld at Silver Tour Vizcaya

Irvin Rosenfeld shares his stories with The Silver Tour, a non-profit organization created to educate the senior community of the United States about the medicinal value of cannabis.

Federal Marijuana Patient Lives In Florida

In 1982, Irvin Rosenfeld, a stockbroker from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., convinced a panel of doctors in a hearing at the Food & Drug Administration office in Rockville, Md., that marijuana was the only possible treatment available for his medical conditions. Rosenfeld spoke about his conditions and how he had worked with his doctor on a 10-year study prior to the hearing. “I use (cannabis) to treat two conditions, one called multiple congenital cartilaginous exostosis, which causes tumors to grow on the ends of most long bones in my body, and pseudopseudohypoparathyroidism, which means that the tumors can develop at any age as my bones continue to grow,” Rosenfeld said. On November 20, 1982, the FDA made Rosenfeld the second member of the Compassionate Investigational New Drug Program (Compassionate IND), a program established by the federal government after the landmark case of Randall v. U.S.  In that case Robert Randall, eventually the inaugural patient of the program, successfully argued the common law doctrine of necessity against charges of marijuana cultivation as a medical necessity. Compassionate IND has been closed to new entrants, but has supplied as many as thirteen different patients with medical marijuana grown at the University of Mississippi.

Patient Gets 300 Joints of Marijuana Every 25 Days From The Government

Rosenfeld receives a tin of 300 joints of marijuana every 25 days for his treatment, and has become a public advocate for the legalization of medicinal marijuana treatment.  He said he would like to see the Florida amendment pass for multiple reasons, including education. “Right now we’re not teaching future doctors about the medical benefits of marijuana in medical schools,” Rosenfeld said. “Once we’re able to get it as a curriculum in medical schools we’ll be able to learn about all the possible benefits and side effects.” Benefits, Rosenfeld says, that include improving our endocannabinoid system, a group of lipids and their receptors in the brain that are involved in physiological processes such as appetite, mood changes, memory, and pain-sensation. Rosenfeld suggested that a lack of cannabis in foods and medicine has resulted in the prevalence of diseases such as Lupus and Chron’s. “Just like the digestive system and our respiratory system, the endocannabinoid system produces important substances and some people aren’t producing enough,” Rosenfeld said. “We used to use cannabis in foods and medicine but the federal government took it out, leaving people cannabinoid deficient causing the body to attack itself.”

Medical Marijuana Allows A Normal Way Of Life

Because of his access to medical marijuana treatment, Rosenfeld says his life has completely changed for the better. He is able to volunteer for Shake-A-Leg Miami, a not-for-profit organization that works with children and adults with physical, developmental, and economic challenges. “Without marijuana, if I was still alive, I’d be on disability and living off the government,” he said. “Instead I’m a productive member of society, working as a stock broker and a volunteer of 20 years for a program that helps disabled people by giving them the opportunity to go sailing.” Although Rosenfeld is a major proponent of legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes, he said he thinks Florida is a few years away from considering an amendment for the recreational use of cannabis. “We’re still in an educational process with marijuana, which is why it is important to legalize it medically and start teaching it in medical school,” he said. “Three to four years down the road, once doctors have had a chance to study (marijuana) and its effects, then it might be possible.”  

Remember Irvin's Story

bookfrontcoverWhen asked if there were one thing he would like Florida voters to consider before heading to the polls this November, Rosenfeld said to think about his story. “I’m living proof that medical marijuana works, and can help change someone’s life for the better,” he said.   You can read more about Irvin Rosenfeld and his journey to gaining access to medical marijuana in his book, available at MyMedicineTheBook.com.