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.
My name is Thomas Steele and I am a veteran and a cannabis patient. I served our nation in two wars, Operations Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom. As a result of my service in Iraq, I was diagnosed in 2010 with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I was later determined by the Veterans Administration to have a 100% service connected disability. My story is not unique. There are many citizens of the Commonwealth who struggle with conditions for which cannabis has provided relief.