ILLINOIS: Marijuana was illegal in Illinois, so she always knew the day might come. Still, when police stormed her North Side apartment a year ago, Michelle DiGiacomo was unprepared.
I was about to experience the worst 28 hours of my life,” says the 53-year-old who runs DirectEffect Charities, a Chicago nonprofit serving needy Chicago Public Schools kids. “We had discussed this possibility in the past; one I had hoped would never come to be.”
For the past five years, the widowed mother of two had used medical marijuana for relief from the pain of fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, spinal stenosis and rotator cuff disease. Traditional medications had produced adverse reactions or failed to provide significant relief.
She was arrested Sept. 13, 2012. And on March 5 — just five months before Gov. Pat Quinn signed the state’s medical marijuana bill into law — DiGiacomo pleaded guilty to Class 4 felony possession.
Under the Illinois Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act, a felony disqualifies a potential patient from accessing medical marijuana.