Solon Police Arrest Woman For Growing Pot to Ease Sister’s Pain

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Verissa Mason’s sister suffers from muscular dystrophy. Marijuana had been effective in easing her pain. But marijuana of any kind - O.G. Kush, God’s Vagina, Sour Diesel, all of which could possibly and rightfully bear the term “medical” - is illegal in Ohio. So the therapeutic doses were, naturally, kept quiet and administered in private. Until recently.

A medical alarm at Mason’s home called in by the Security Central Company tipped off Solon police at 12:19 a.m. April 4. No one answered the door at the Maple Drive home, though officers were able to enter through an unlocked first-floor window. Inside, they discovered marijuana plants growing in plain sight in some sort of office on the second floor. Soon enough, they reached Mason via her cell phone and later arrested her and charged her with possession of drug paraphernalia and cultivation of marijuana. (Mason did not return Scene’s calls.)

John Pardee, executive director of the Ohio Rights Group, says that stories like Mason’s only embolden advocates’ calls for legalization of cannabidiol-heavy medical marijuana. Symptoms of muscular dystrophy include widespread muscle weakness, which prompts chronic pain, according to the Mayo Clinic. It’s a disease frequently cited in discussions of medical marijuana.

“It’s obviously very sad and tragic. Unfortunately we see this scene being played out all over Ohio,” he says of Mason’s case. “Here it is, one of the safest medicinal herbs on the planet, and it’s treated like it’s a Schedule I drug, which is has no business being.” Medical marijuana, he says, would be chemically centered on cannabidiol (CBD), which bears the medical effects of marijuana, but does not necessarily get the user stoned.

Mason was growing several small plants, though it’s unclear what sort of ratio of CBD was present in the strain. She was arraigned April 23; a pretrial hearing is set for May 9.

“We really need to let Ohio know who exactly the true victims of the drug war really are. It’s the people of medical need,” Pardee says. “They’re not keeping it out of the hands of drug dealers or casual users. They’re keeping it out of the hands of Ohio’s sickest patients who need quality, safe strains that are specifically designed for their ailments. Those are the people that are really being devastated by the drug war.”

It’s nothing more than police recordspeak, but the victims listed on Mason’s arrest form are “society” and the “public.”

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