Illustration by Tanya Shaw/Colorado Springs Independent
and Kathy Levy
moved to Colorado Springs from Nashville around a week-and-a-half ago. For the last 30 years, Kathy, who's 59 years old, has had multiple sclerosis, and for some of that time has been treating it with a drug called Tysabri
, an intravenous antibody with sales of $1.6 billion
in 2012 that includes a fatal brain-infection as one of its possible side effects.
It's for that reason that the couple sought Colorado's leafy shores. But after traveling to six different MMJ centers within the city, the pair are pretty disappointed with the effect that various strains have had on Kathy's symptoms.
"I don't care about what it tastes like, smells like or what it's called. I'm talking about pure, flat-out potency," Jeff says in a phone interview.
"Both my wife and I, we're old: I'll be 64 next month. I've seen and I've done it all, OK?" he says. "I've had really, really good stuff before, OK, and it's really easy to tell when something isn't even in the ballpark, you know what I mean? It's not even in the ballpark. It's obvious."
Levy says the occasional strain in Tennessee would be good enough to relieve the stiffness in Kathy's legs, helping her move easier, or help improve her well-being so that she was interested in eating. But nothing like that has happened for them yet, here.
"If this is the best you've got, then as far as I'm concerned, the entire medical-marijuana industry — I don't know about the rest of the state — but at least here in Colorado Springs, is a hoax. It's an absolute fraud. There's nothing medical-grade about any of this.
"At this point, it's mostly about money," he says. "Now, I'm sure there are people who aren't in it for the money, who are really, really doing it because they care about sick people and want to help. I'm sure there are people like that, I just have not found them yet."
Jeff says the couple hasn't experimented with any infused products as of yet, and likes what he's hearing about hash-oil concentrates, but smoking herb lets his wife better control the dosage. Either way, if neither of those work, he says, and no growers step up, then the cross-country move was a waste of $5,000.
"We're going to try that, but like I said, six dispensaries and we've been here, I don't know, 10 days now — she's had her card for about a week, her temporary paper for about a week — and the bud is just not good. It's not good."