|Published:||Apr 26, 2013 5:44 PM EDT|
|Updated:||Apr 26, 2013 6:49 PM EDT|
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Congressman Trey Radel had never heard of the government run growhouse at the University of Mississippi, or the federal program that supplies four people with 300 joints every month. But he wasn't surprised when he heard about the WINK News Call For Action Investigation.
"The unfortunate part is in Washington there's not a whole lot more that's shocking when it comes to spending and misspending," Radel said.
"Why are we still paying this person to smoke weed, everyday?"
On Thursday, we introduced you to Irv Rosenfeld. A stockbroker in Fort Lauderdale, who is one of only four people legally allowed to light up anywhere in the country. On top of that, you're paying for his weed.
"Federal government provides it, paid by our taxpayers money," said Rosenfeld.
Rosenfeld is part of an investigational drug program the government established in the late 1970's. At its peak, the program had 13 people receiving medical cannabis. Today only four are alive and Rosenfeld says medical marijuana is the only medicine that has ever worked for him.
"Without it I wouldn't be alive today," Rosenfeld said.
The government sends Rosenfeld and the other three patients 300 joints every 25 days.
According to the National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse, the program costs about $420,000 in growing years and $300,000 in non-growing years. The weed is grown every other year.
The program was established to study the possible medical benefits of marijuana. Yet to this day, the government says no long-term studies have been completed.
"We're spending about a hundred thousand dollars a year for this guy to smoke weed. At a time when our airport towers are getting shut down. At a time when food stamps are being cut," Radel said.
Deb Comella with the Lee County Coalition For a Drug-Free Southwest Florida, says this program sends the wrong message.
"I certainly would hope that they would learn from our past mistakes and phase out this program," Comella said.
But what had many of our viewers talking, and what Radel and Rosenfeld agree on, is that this program is the very definition of government hypocrisy.
"We're supplying someone with a product, if you will, that we're paying billions a year to fight against," said Radel, "it makes no sense."
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