By Carol Draeger Thomas, Tribune Staff Writer
Photo by Barbara Allison
Carroll Fisher does not regularly use marijuana. But he'd like to.
The retired 67-year-old Niles factory worker has never smoked a joint — except for trying one in his 20s — until July.
That was three months after he was diagnosed with stage 3 lung cancer.
He took a trip to Canada to visit friends and had the occasion, as he describes it, to smoke marijuana.
Twice a day.
"I slept better. It gave me an appetite where as the chemotherapy takes it away," he said about the drug, which is illegal in Canada.
"It helped me with the pain," he added.
When he returned to Michigan, where voters a year ago approved medicinal marijuana, he asked his cancer physician in Niles, Dr. Chil Kang, to sign the state form authorizing Fisher to use medicinal marijuana.
"He won't do it," Fisher said.
Nor will his eye doctor or his family practitioner, Dr. Douglas Tacket.
"I can't get anyone to sign it," Fisher said.
Michigan's law requires a licensed state physician to sign a certification form, authorizing the patient to grow up to 12 plants to use for medical purposes.
The form is necessary for Fisher to obtain a registry card allowing him to use the drug.
Greg Francisco, executive director of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Association, is not surprised by Fisher's problem.