I was recently sentenced to probation for cultivation of marijuana and, as part of my sentence, Judge Duber ordered me to write a letter of explanation/apology to the newspaper.
In 1987, I was a paramedic with the Mesa Fire Department, and while I was attending to an injured motorcycle rider, I accidentally stuck myself with a needle after starting an IV. Apparently, the rider had Hepatitis C, because shortly, I contracted the disease and, ultimately my wife also became infected.
Hepatitis C is an extremely ravaging disease, which often times is fatal. The only known treatment/cure is a drastic course of chemotherapy which, in and of itself, is quite an ordeal and can make you very, very ill.
Because of our children, I decided to start the chemotherapy first, and my wife to follow after mine was completed. While I got through the chemotherapy fairly well, it had a devastating affect on my wife and her weight dropped to 87 pounds --ne of the effects of chemotherapy is that food makes you nauseous and you simply cannot eat.
I was very concerned that my wife might die because of her weight loss and weakened condition. A couple of our doctors indicated that they had heard that marijuana might help restore her appetite and help the nausea. Because of that, I attempted to grow marijuana for our own use; but, because I didn't know anything about the plant, I grew an extremely poor quality of marijuana.
The marijuana was so bad that there was almost no effect from smoking it. We discovered that if we boiled it and made a tea, my wife would get some relief. Drinking marijuana tea did help my wife. It helped my wife's nausea and helped increase her appetite. It was about this time that members of the Gila County Narcotics Task Force discovered the plot of marijuana, about 150 plants I was growing and the rest is history.
I am indeed sorry that I broke the law, which as a firefighter for 24 years I was sworn to uphold. I apologize to Ivard Brimley, Brady Leffler, Ron Bigness, Gil Damiani, Stanley Woods, Tim Hughes, George Randall, Oscar and Sydney Jones, Larry and Lil Martin, Ivan McLaws, Larry Miller, and Greg Mulligan, and I hope that they understand.
Although my wife and I will always carry the Hepatitis C antibody, the virus is in remission and no longer active. We both appreciate greatly the help and support we have received from the community and we hope we can give something back to the community in gratitude.
Duke Arrington, Payson