Medical marijuana patient worries about options after Chico bans sales


CHICO, Calif. - In a 4-3 vote, Chico City Council decided to ban all commercial marijuana activity inside city limits.

Council members voted to prohibit smoking marijuana in designated areas, expel any existing commercial operations and implement a permit and regulation system for growing personal and recreational cannabis.

This was devastating news for Mary Johnston, a 19-year-old Paradise woman who has a mitochondrial disorder. "Mine is so rare that nobody else that they've documented has it," said Johnston.

It's taken away her ability to walk, eat, sleep and live any sort of normal life. Without warning she also gets such extreme muscle spasms, even the doctors don't know what to do to help.

"They were like what do you do? They would come in and start to panic, doctors, nurses, they would ask like how do you stop them? What do you do at home?" Johnston explained.

The answer is a 50/50 strain of THC and CBD, medical marijuana delivered to her by a dispensary in Chico. They're now telling her they will no longer be able to operate.

Chico City Council said this new ordinance just puts into writing what was already prohibited. "I cannot speak to dispensaries that have already been in operation, however, dispensaries have never been legal in the city of Chico," said Reanette Fillmer, Chico City Council member.

For people like Mary, Fillmer suggests growing her own marijuana indoors or in a greenhouse in Chico.

"I do empathize with people that need it, but I also feel like there's a long ways to go before we can legalize it within city limits," said Fillmer.

It's a concept that Johnston said is frustrating because medical marijuana is the only thing that helps her.

"It literally, it's helped so much," said Johnston. "It's gotten to a point where my body can't function on it's own and it's not functioning with the pharmaceuticals because my body will literally, physically reject anything that I give it."

She adds it's not just her, she's speaking out to give a face to all the people who depend on this like she does.

"To take that away from them is not only kind of feeding off of the weak, but taking away one of the only things we have that is available to us to have the right to live at all, you know to keep going," Johnston said.

State law allows for every individual to grow up to six marijuana plants indoors. These new laws will go into effect January 1, 2018.