From the Archives: Mr. Randall Goes to Washington (1980)

in Culture

By Robert Randall

Once a week I go to a pharmacy located near my home in Washington, D.C., to pick up 70 prerolled cigarettes containing two and a half ounces of marijuana. The transaction is perfectly legal. My marijuana dealer is the U.S. government.

I have glaucoma, a painless, incurable eye disease. Uncontrolled, it results in blindness. In 19731 accidentally discovered that smoking marijuana significantly reduces the eye pressure associated with my disease. Armed with the medical knowledge of a tenth-grade biology student, I conducted trial-and-error tests to determine if a drug I enjoyed using could prolong my sight. By the spring of 1974 the evidence was too persuasive to ignore and I added marijuana to my complement of conventionally prescribed antiglaucoma drugs. This illicit program of medication worked reasonably well. But marijuana purchased on the black market is always expensive, often unavailable and seldom of high quality. To offset these hazards I grew my own marijuana.

In August 1975 I was arrested by the District of Columbia vice squad for cultivating four marijuana plants on a secondfloor sun deck. My first impulse was to plead guilty, pay a small fine for my indiscretion and return to my career as a college professor. But within a week of my arrest I learned the federal government also knew of marijuana’s potential value in the treatment of glaucoma. Several officials actually encouraged me to continue smoking cannabis on the sly. So I freely admitted smoking marijuana but pled not guilty for reasons of medical need.

To support this claim I underwent 13 days of controlled medical study in December 1975 at the Jules Stein Eye Institute at the University of California at Los Angeles.

I was hospitalized for six additional days of observation in March 1976 at the Wilmer Eye Institute, John Hopkins University.

Ophthalmologists at …

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Author: High Times / High Times

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