My Support For Allowing A Medical Marijuana Dispensary in Lowell.

I recently had an opportunity to address the Lowell City Council and their consideration of allowing a medical marijuana dispensary to operate in our town. Here are my remarks:

My name is Cliff Yankovich. Business owner since 2002 - Chimera Design - soon to be resident, moving to the corner of Monroe & King while we refurbish our 2nd floor.
I am here to support allowing a dispensary in Lowell.
I am speaking as someone who has benefited from Medical Marijuana.

2013: Diagnosed and treated for stage 4 throat cancer. 7 weeks of daily radiation with IV cisplatin chemo administered at the beginning, middle and end of the radiation. Lost 40 pounds, landed in the ER twice with complications, spent 3 days in the hospital, and had a feeding tube installed when I could no longer eat or drink.

I could not eat because I had no appetite and because of the pain. In addition, the treatment killed my sense of taste. My post treatment anxiety was through the roof - hard time sleeping.

Never had much use for pot - because it made me sleepy and hungry.
Hmmm. In my mind this made me a perfect candidate for the use of medical marijuana. 

My request was pooh-poohed at the Cancer Center - but that is another story for another day. In 2014 found a place on Michigan Avenue in Grand Rapids, met with a doctor and got my card. The card was good for 2 years. At the time, we traveled to Ann Arbor to get the medical marijuana because there were no dispensaries in Grand Rapids.

Anyway - using a pot based tea and edibles allowed me to treat my pain and anxiety, and build up an appetite so that I could return to work - all with no side effects. I gradually used it less and less until by the last couple of months that I had my card I was only using it as a sleep aid - mostly to deal with the anxiety that kept me awake. Pain meds and sleeping pills would leave me groggy and spaced out. I had no such side effects with the medical pot. They have strains of pot that eliminate some or all the THC that makes you stoned. Because it is being used all over the country and all over the world, scientists are finding all kinds of ways to produce helpful medicines from pot without leaving those treated stoned on the couch eating Doritos. When I first returned to work, I was able to use medical pot without the side effects that bothered me from other meds.

By the time the 2 years were up, I was using other methods like breathing exercises and meditation to deal with my anxiety and did not have any further need for the medical pot. So I let my card expire and quit using it. There were NO side effects, there was NO withdrawal - no big deal. One day I was using the pot tea to help me deal with anxiety and help me sleep at night and the next day I quit. 

Medical marijuana works. There are YouTube videos online which show people being treated successfully for a variety of illnesses with pot. Parkinson's - epilepsy - seizures - fibromyalgia - autism and others. Scientists are cracking cannabis open and using the cannabinoids, which are the beneficial portions of the plant, to do amazing things.

It is important to remember that people in Michigan voted to legalize medical marijuana. The majority of voters believed it would be beneficial to allow it in our state. Having the opportunity to avail oneself of medical pot is something people in our state considered and voted in favor of.

More and more people are re-examining their views on medical marijuana. My dad is a great example. When I was a kid he equated pot use with what he called "hop heads". The hop heads he saw growing up in and around Detroit were heroin addicts. Before he passed away my father did a complete 180 - he actually voted in favor of the legalization of medical pot. A lot of his change of heart was because my step-mother died of pancreatic cancer at a young age. As part of their search to find relief, my dad had occasion to obtain some marijuana for her - it was gotten way before medical pot was legal, but he told me that it helped ease her pain. This was back in the days BEFORE they grew different strains to do different things and you just used pot you bought on the street.

Anybody who knows me, knows that I am a great cheerleader for Lowell. I have been on the marketing committee for over a decade. I am currently on the DDA. My wife and I love Lowell. In fact, we just sold our house in order to move here. For a little town, we are pretty forward looking. I was impressed when our police department had body cameras before it was even a thing. The sense of community here is amazing. People pull together for one another. I support Flat River Outreach Ministries, especially the Food Bank, on a personal and professional level. I love that the churches in Lowell joined together to help those in need. The Pink Arrow Project is AMAZING - I supported it from day one and never thought I would benefit from it. We have a Gilda's Club in Lowell because of Pink Arrow. No other town of our size has a Gilda’s.

As a cancer survivor who was helped immensely by medical marijuana, I can speak with firsthand knowledge of its efficacy. From time to time, I meet with and encourage others who are diagnosed with cancer. One of the recommendations I have for ANY cancer patient is to get their Medical Marijuana card and use it - the edibles and teas are a wonderful help.

We have Pink Arrow and we have a Gilda's Club. To me, having a dispensary for medical marijuana in my favorite town just makes sense. I would urge all of you here to support this effort and help to bring one to our town. It will help make our community that much stronger, that much better.


8/8/17 - Here is a video of the meeting - the lady who speaks first has an AMAZING story to share: 

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