The 52-year-old says marijuana helps keep up her appetite, and numbs the nerve pain that she experiences daily. Hernandez Parks has HIV.
“[Smoking marijuana] helps me cope,” she says. “It pretty much allows me to get out of bed every day and do what I do.”
Along with using cannabis herself for medical reasons, Hernandez Parks is active with an organization called VOCAL-NY, which advocates for, among other things, the legalization of medical marijuana. When Governor Andrew Cuomo last year agreed to take steps toward legalizing the drug for medicinal purposes, VOCAL-NY called it a positive development. But now, others like Hernandez Parks say they’re concerned about a byzantine maze of proposed regulations that will make it difficult for poor people to get their hands on the legal pot.