Medical Marijuana Prisoner Denied Marinol

Alan Carter McLemore, 46, was a practicing attorney in Southeast Texas until arrested in Kountze, Texas, on Feb. 8, 1995, for cultivating marijuana which he used for medicine. He received a 6 1/2 year sentence and has 2 years and 11 months left. He is currently incarcerated in the federal medical facility at Rochester, Minnesota.

At age 9, Alan first exhibited symptoms of what was later diagnosed as severe clinical Depression. He suffers from painful migraines, an extreme eating disorder and drastic mood fluctuations which produce a dysphoria that begs at death's door for relief. At age 18, he discovered that alcohol dulled the pain of his illness.

Intermittently with alcohol, he tried psychological, behavioral and psychiatric means first to deal with the brain chemistry disorder, then to treat the severe alcoholic he had become. His life and law practice were in shambles by the time he descended into terminal alcoholism at age 39.

At that time, he was given some marijuana by a friend. After several weeks of smoking, it dissipated his craving for alcohol altogether. He was further surprised to find that continued smoking, without alcohol, normalized his appetite, stopped his migraines and prevented the mood swings and dysphoria - all for the first time in his life.

In an attempt to find a legal solution, he asked his physician to prescribe Marinol, a synthetic version of the THC found in marijuana. DEA and FDA regulations make Marinol difficult to obtain, and he was only given enough for his most severe headaches. He turned to growing marijuana for the daily medicine he found to work so effectively on his overall condition.

Following his arrest and subsequent inability to eat without medication, he was prescribed Marinol by a psychiatrist at Jefferson County Jail in Beaumont, Texas. His health was restored and maintained for 5 months, until he was transferred in Aug. 1995, to Montgomery County Jail, Conroe, Texas, where his legal Marinol prescription was literally flushed down the toilet by the medical staff there. Since that day, Alan's illness has overtaken him with full force.

The Bureau of Prisons has continually refused to reinstate Alan's prescription. Twice his weight has fallen to 120 lbs. and twice he has been rushed to the Rochester medical facility. The doctors have tried a variety of drugs that either exacerabate his condition, do nothing for his illness or produce intolerable side effects rendering him unable to take them.

Because of direct orders from the Bureau of Prisons in Washington D.C., the doctors are unable to prescribe the only medicine that works for Alan - Marinol. The government is witholding his medication for purely political reasons. Alan's needless suffering continues.

Since the medical staff at Rochester can do no more for Alan, he is awaiting transfer. I will post his new address as soon as he has one. Thanks for your concern.

Maggi Carter-McLemore, Box 5073, Beaumont TX 77726 Freemac

Alan Carter-McLemore - 11-25-97 Update

Alan remains incarcerated at the federal medical facility in Rochester, Minnesota.

The Bureau of Prisons continues to withhold his prescription Marinol.

Alan continues to suffer the symptoms of his lifelong brain chemistry disorder, severe clinical Depression. His eating disorder is life threatening and his mood fluctuations and migraines are extreme.

The doctors in Rochester have tried every medication available to them for prescription and would prescribe Marinol if they could. Direct orders from Washington D.C. prevent this, despite private and jail medical records indicating Marinol works for Alan when all other drugs fail. The various medications tried either exacerbate his condition, do nothing for his illness or produce intolerable side effects.

The Bureau of Prisons has 2 excuses for not allowing the Marinol. The first is that the FDA has only approved the drug for wasting syndrome in AIDS patients and nausea in cancer patients and would have to be written "off-label". The second is that it is not on the BOP formulary. The doctors have already given him other drugs that have been prescribed "off-label" and were not on the formulary.

He is attempting to control some of the pain of his disease by alternately fasting (his normal state) and gorging (brought on by medication) and taking 2 medications, Buproprion and Sinemet. Neither is adequate for his condition. The Sinemet is a dopamine drug and helps somewhat but is used for Parkinson's Disease and produces Parkinson's-like symptoms in Alan, along with vision problems, hallucinations and headaches.

The doctors in Rochester can do no more for him and have recommended he be redesignated to the new federal facility in Beaumont, Texas, 15 minutes from where I live. Instead the Bureau of Prisons has gone against the recommendations of their own doctors at their best medical facility and redesignated him back to Fort Worth, several hours away from me and his immediate family.

The facility at Fort Worth is called a medical facility but this where Alan dropped twice to 120 lbs. before their eyes and their medical staff was quite inadequate to say the least.

Alan's reaction to the news was to break out in hives. At least if he is in the Beaumont facility, we can talk on the phone and visit without the exorbitant costs of prison-controlled long-distance telephones and travel expenses.

Alan is serving 6 1/2 years for growing his own medicine. At age 44, he lost his license to practice law for at least 10 years after leaving prison, lost all his property to asset forfeiture, and lost his civil rights to encarceration. He is now losing his health specifically because the government is withholding his prescription medicine, a human rights violation by international treaties. How much more does he have to suffer for growing a forbidden plant?

This is the cost of the drugwar.

Thanks for your concern. For now, please write Alan & me.

Maggi Carter-McLemore, Box 5073, Beaumont Tx 77726