(The Province) Marilyn Holsten’s last days on Earth were a living hell, according to her sister, Moira O’Neill.
In frail health, the almost-blind, diabetic double-amputee was ordered evicted from her apartment because of her need to smoke marijuana to control her pain.
Holsten, 48, died earlier this month from a heart attack.
“For a whole year, it went on. It was an unbelievable way to treat someone in her health,” said O’Neill.
Holsten lived in a building operated by Anavets Senior Citizens Housing Society in the 900-block East 8th Avenue in Vancouver.
Many of her neighbours told her they did not smell marijuana coming from her apartment, her sister said. But, even though Holsten eventually obtained legal permission to smoke marijuana to deal with excruciating phantom pains, Anavets sought her eviction because of the smell of pot.
“It was a witch hunt,” said O’Neill, who said her sister had to move from her fifth-floor apartment to a ground-floor suite two years ago, after her first leg amputation, for her own safety.
“They knew she smoked marijuana before she moved down to the other suite,” said O’Neill.
“She was in the hospital most of the time, with her amputation — she was gone five days a week, in dialysis six hours a day.”
Holsten fought her eviction at a B.C. Residential Tenancy Branch arbitration hearing in June, but lost.
The night before she died, Holsten visited her older sister.
“We resolved that she was going to stay with me in my small one-bedroom apartment,” said O’Neill.
“She couldn’t take opiates, they made her totally unable to function. Morphine made her throw up, and she was a diabetic, so she had to eat all the time.”
Holsten made every effort to contain the smell from her marijuana use from her neighbors. She originally did not have a doctor’s recommendation to use medical marijuana, so in her original eviction notice, the administrator, Mary McLeod, wrote “Marijuana use is still against the law and … [as] part of your tenancy agreement, you agreed you would not participate in illegal activities.”
She then signed an agreement that she would only medicate outdoors, but the center gave her another eviction notice after someone smelled marijuana in the public areas of the building.
Then Marc & Jodie Emery of Cannabis Culture magazine donated to her a Volcano vaporizer to help alleviate the problem. However, the arbitration hearings would hear none of that and had her evicted anyway – a double amputee who pledged to only vaporize, exhaling outdoors even, her legally recommended herbal remedy for excruciating phantom pains.
I understand that some people do not like the smell of cannabis and to be fair, we should respect their rights, too. However, will the Anavets center evict their residents for cooking that awful-smelling kimchi, sauerkraut, or menudo? Are residents allowed to smoke cigarettes (I have a call in to the Anavets center asking just that question)? Can residents keep pets, even smelly kitties who miss the litter box? Can residents douse themselves with heavy amounts of perfume or cologne? Something tells me that residents are allowed to create all sorts of offensive smells in public areas… just not the skunky sweet smell of burning cannabis.
CANNABIS CULTURE – A diabetic double-amputee who was evicted from her apartment for smoking medical marijuana has died. Protest Marilyn Holsten’s mistreatment: WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 2, 2009 from 12-6pm at the Anavets Senior Citizens Housing Society building at 951 8th Ave E, Vancouver.