Around a dozen people gathered in Montebello Park in St. Catharines this Friday for a 4/20 demonstration.
Some were there to celebrate the impending legalization of cannabis, while others came to voice the concerns they still have about regulations surrounding its use for medicinal purposes.
One such resident was Gayle “Kush”, who requested her last name not be published.
When Niagara Now arrived, she called a reporter over to tell her story.
Two weeks ago, Gayle was diagnosed with a mass on one of her ovaries and doctors aren’t certain is benign or malignant.
Within about a minute of talking about it, she had broken down into tears.
She said her doctors won’t be able to find out if it is benign or malignant until they remove it, though the talks to schedule an appointment for surgery aren’t for another three weeks.
On top of it all, she said she can’t take any strong pain killers like opiates due to having her gallbladder removed.
“I haven't been able to drink spirits, alcohol, morphine or tylenol since.”
For her, smoking cannabis is the only thing that can safely offer her relief, she said.
Gayle, now 62-years-old, said she bought her first bag of pot when she was 46, after she suffered a heart attack.
She is also diagnosed with Graves' disease.
“If that makes me a drug addict, take me outside and f****** shoot me,” she said.
She said two years ago she tried to get a medical marijuana license, though it was a sketchy process of application over a video call at a “marijuana clinic” and the doctor wouldn’t prescribe it because of the heart attack.
The result is she is still buying cannabis illegally.
She said even when it is legalized in Canada it won’t be included in her health benefits.
“What? Legalized?” she said, with more than a hint of sarcasm.
She pointed out the government has no plans help subsidize recreational pot for medical patients, forcing her to continue to buy illegally at lower prices.
“So I’m running a risk … just because I’m trying to keep myself going here,” she said.
“I’ve never been arrested in my life.”