Daniel Soligny had a good life, except for the whole health insurance thing. He didn't have the most glamorous job, sure, but spending 14 hours a day on rollerblades at Sonic Beach Miami Gardens kept him active, and his girl, Jacqueline, was always by his side. Although he was 20 and she a young-looking 35, the couple was a psychic match -- enjoying weekend outings to South Beach and goofing off.
On one such trip, Soligny accidentally injured himself while walking down Ocean Drive. He headed for a hospital, was prescribed Percocet, and sent home. Two weeks later, he returned to the hospital. Doctors took an ultrasound and found that Soligny, who wears giant green gauges and a long black ponytail, had aggravated tumors in his testicles and was diagnosed with cancer.
Right away, he refused chemo therapy, saying he couldn't afford treatment. Within four-and-a-half-months, the cancer had spread to his lymph nodes.
"I've gotten better treatment for a cat bite than I got for my cancer," Soligny says. "By the time they removed my testicle, it was the size of a tangerine."
But springing for the surgery was too little, too late. Knowing he had to do something in lieu of chemo, Soligny decided to try a holistic approach instead. First, the former fast-food worker switched to an all-alkaline, all-organic diet. But more crucially, he procured a CBD treatment online that he would stick under his tongue. The cannibidiol didn't get him stoned, but it made his tumors miraculously stop growing, he says.
"In 28 days my AFP (tumor marker) dropped and the two abnormalities in my blood test went away," he says. "So now I'm basically forced to go to Colorado. It's not an option at this point."
Five days from now, Soligny will become what's called a "medical marijuana refugee." He'll relocate to Colorado Springs, where a private charity will allow him to live -- and access medical marijuana -- for free.
"I always thought maybe he needed to do [chemo], but I can't force him," girlfriend Jacqueline says. "And he's doing great."
But Vanessa Moffatt of United For Care -- the main organization supporting Amendment 2 in Florida -- says that the pot lobby is reluctant to embrace stories like Soligny's, lest they come off as snake-oil salesmen.
She says the claims are uncommon, but out there. Moffatt remembers a man telling her about how the 200 tumors in his stomach had stopped growing after he started using edibles. The vast majority of people, though, understand that medical marijuana is supposed to treat the side-effects of cancer rather than the cancer itself.
"There is anecdotal evidence out there, but a lot of the studies out there haven't been conducted on humans, so it's not the safest course for us to recommend marijuana as a medical cure," she says. "We would prefer to highlight more standard and generally accepted uses."
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