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Medicinal marijuana advocates Jam for Justice in Coe Hill

September 30, 2015

By Nate Smelle

More than 100 advocates of medicinal marijuana took over the Coe Hill Fairgrounds on Saturday, Sept. 26 to take part in Dr. Rob Kamermans’ Jam for Justice. The celebration of cannabis culture and benefit concert was a fundraiser to pay for Kamermans’ climbing court costs that have arisen from charges alleging the doctor illegally dispensed prescriptions for medical marijuana to patients from jurisdictions across Canada. Following a raid of his office in Coe Hill by the RCMP in January of 2012, Kamermans and his wife Mary, a Registered Nurse Practitioner were charged with substance trafficking, as well as fraud and money laundering related to his involvement with medical marijuana prescriptions.
Many in the crowd were patients of Kamermans’ showed up to express their gratitude to the doctor for helping them heal and for improving their quality of life. Diagnosed with multiple sclerosis 20 years ago, Marjory Leahy spent nearly 15 years on a variety of different prescription painkillers to help her cope with the pain, before she became a patient of Kamermans’. Having not tried marijuana before, Leahy said she was sceptical that it would help her overcome her pain considering she had been prescribed heavy narcotics such as OxyContin and Percocet by her former doctor. Worried about some of the side effects caused by these medications; and also worried about becoming dependent on them she decided to give it a try.
“The side effects of the pills my previous doctor was prescribing to me made me feel worse whenever I didn’t take them,” said Leahy.
“I could see how people might get hooked on pills by accident. When I replaced them with medicinal marijuana all of those side effects went away and I started to enjoy life again. When you think about it, it makes sense. I mean come on what kind of medicine would you rather take, one that comes from a plant that has been used by healers for thousands of years, or one that is manufactured in a lab from synthetic chemicals?”
Llyod Embury also became an advocate for using marijuana as a medicine after he experienced the harsh side effects of the drug OxyContin. Prescribed to him by another doctor to help him deal with the severe pain from a major eye surgery, he found marijuana to be much more effective and natural pain killer than any of the pills his doctor prescribed. As soon as the OxyContin wore off, Embury said the pain would come back immediately. Acting as the Master of Ceremonies for the day’s events he explained why he decided to offer his support for Kamermans’ Jam for Justice.
“Dr. Kamermans has been a really good doctor for the community,” he said.
“He is a good man and very personable, and because of all of this hassle they gave him over writing prescriptions for people who need it, he has been harassed, he has been dragged through the courts, and that equals big, big bucks. He is just a regular MD who is here to help the people. We are putting this on and getting it done here so the people he has helped can help him get through this.”
The music began at noon and continued on until after sundown. The line-up featured a mixed range of artists including: Mike Kelly, Dave Embury, Band on the QT, Steve Bird, Gord Arnold, the Coe Hill Girls and trick fiddler/step dancing sensation Jessica Wedden. Picking up the fiddle for the first time four years ago, Wedden’s quick and skilled hand combined with her Jimi Hendrix-style showmanship had the audience grooving to the music. Happy to take part in Dr. Kamermans’ Jam for Justice, the artist/activist from Charbot Lake believes artists should use their talents to make the world a better place.
“I try to play at as many fundraisers as I can,” said Wedden.
“It makes me feel good inside to help people who are helping others.”
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