PORTAGE, Mich. — Jevin Weyenberg knows firsthand the benefits of medical marijuana. He’s a cancer survivor and said using cannabis helped reduce the pain and nausea he felt while recovery from chemotherapy.
“There’s very good cannabis topicals, cannabis oils, that are very effective at treating chronic pain whether it be nerve pain, arthritis, back pain,” said Weyenberg. “[It] combines with your endocannabinoid system in your body to really reduce chronic pain.”
Weyenberg has since opened Lake Effect, a medical marijuana dispensary, to help other patients battle their pain he said. However the future of his business may be in jeopardy. They need the city of Portage to adopt an ordinance before December 15 that’ll allow them to continue to operate, per new LARA rules. So the city scheduled an emergency meeting for Tuesday December 12 to vote on the ordinance.
“I personally am in favor of medical marijuana,” said Mayor Patricia Randall of Portage. “I know that it was an important part of the election.”
Mayor Randall was elected into office less than month ago. She's a five-year breast cancer survivor who did not use medical marijuana during treatment she said. However she understands why the 900 cancer patients in the city use it. Recently, the council got to meet a few of them.
“We have had the opportunity to listen to hundreds of patients that have come in and really told us their story of addiction, of chronic pain, of epilepsy, Parkinsons,” said Mayor Randall. “I’m not a medical person but I certainly can empathize with a patient.”
She said of all the patients in the area, the age range of medical marijuana use is from 3 years old to 94. The average age is 60. She said it’s also been helpful in tackling the on-going opioid epidemic in the country that’s affected communities in Portage.
“It’s helped people get off of a conveyer belt of opioids that they’re prescribed,” said Weyenberg who’s had Lake Effect for over two years. “We see the success stories almost everyday.”
Weyenberg, who teaches a seminar on medical marijuana at the VFW the first Monday of every month, said he will be at Tuesday’s meeting. If the ordinance is adopted they’ll be able to keep Lake Effect open for at least another six months.
“Once you start talking to those people and meeting those people that a difference has been made in their life, you can’t turn your back on them,” said Weyenberg. “We’re not going to turn our back on them here. And I feel like the Portage administration is not going to turn their back on them either.”