Somewhere in a suburban New York basement there is a small, unused bag of marijuana, a last attempt to help an elderly father in his final days.
Always a muscular construction worker, the man had been fit and hearty even into his early 90s. Then, seemingly overnight, came a rush of ailments, turning him into a frail shell of his former self.
One day last spring, in one of his series of hospital rooms, his family — a wife and four grown children — argued over what straws they might grasp to build his strength.
If only he had an appetite, his wife said.
Pot could help with that, said his son.
The wife objected for a while, refusing the more straightforward route of asking for a prescription card. Yes, he qualified under several of the illness categories in New York State, but that would mean talking about cannabis with a doctor, which the 85-year-old woman refused to do. Eventually she agreed to the more hush-hush route, on two conditions — that her son never tell her where he procured the weed and that he hide it in the basement where the police could never find it.
“It might be a changing world, but not for my mother,” her daughter says now. “She’s still living in the one where it’s a crime.”
Medical marijuana may be bought and used legally in 29 states and the District of Columbia at the moment, by Grandpa or anyone else with a qualifying condition, and it is often used illegally in other states by those who believe it helps them with a variety of ailments. But that doesn’t mean Grandpa is ready to buy it.