Every so often we ask you to show us something. This week it’s Michelle DiGiacomo’s medical marijuana card.
As she placed the eyedropper in her mouth and administered a homemade tincture of marijuana, Michelle DiGiacomo felt a distinct pang of paranoia.
Earlier in the day she had made her first legal pot purchase from EarthMed in suburban Addison, one of eight dispensaries that began operating this week as part of the state’s Medical Cannabis Pilot Program. The 55-year-old, who runs a letters-to-Santa program serving CPS students through her Direct Effect Charities, hoped the glycerin-based solution would relieve her chronic pain and inflammation caused by rheumatoid arthritis and other debilitating conditions.
But DiGiacomo is still haunted by the memory of cops storming her North Center apartment three years ago. As the Reader‘s Michael Miner reported in the wake of the bust, police searched the residence and arrested DiGiacomo after they tracked a California grower’s FedEx shipment of nearly 1.5 pounds of pot to the doorstep of the widowed mother of two.
The following March DiGiacomo pled guilty to a felony when the Cook County state’s attorney’s office refused to consider supporting statements from her doctors. DiGiacomo’s story figured into arguments for the Illinois Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act, which took effect in January 2014. A year later outgoing governor Pat Quinn granted DiGiacomo a pardon and expunged her record.
Her hope for a life less painful now rests with the marijuana tincture she cooked up on her stove.
“I’m excited and afraid at the same time because I want it to work so bad,” she said as tears flooded her eyes. “And if it doesn’t I don’t know what I’m going to do.”