My name is Frank Shaw and I am a senior living in Ipswich, Massachusetts with a diagnosis of HIV/AIDS since 1998. The medical marijuana movement began in San Francisco during the height of the HIV/AIDS crisis when patients discovered that cannabis was the only thing that helped relieve their symptoms and suffering. I developed the Frank's Friends Initiative to help low-income HIV/AIDS patients receive reduced cost medical marijuana at participating dispensaries in Massachusetts.
In 2014, I co-founded the Cannabis Society of Massachusetts, a membership based non-profit that hosts informational events, networking nights, and private parties for our members and guests. As a result of Governor Baker's vape ban in September 2019 I was one of a handful of patients that sued the Governor and the Department of Public Health, which successfully resulted in medical marijuana vapes returning to dispensary shelves earlier than originally anticipated.
Medical marijuana is the only thing that works to ease the chronic pain in my feet caused by peripheral neuropathy. I also use medical marijuana to help combat insomnia and back pain. I have been advocating on cannabis policy directly with the legislature and providing regular input to the Cannabis Control Commission since getting my medical card in 2017. For 40 years I have been a Freemason in Massachusetts. I am actively involved with the North Shore Health Project in Gloucester and volunteer with the Massachusetts Patient Advocacy Alliance, among other non-profit organizations. My advocacy and volunteering is rewarding and has enriched my life beyond my wildest dreams.