Kirsten Friberg: A patient’s story helped spread medical marijuana from …

June 16th, 2011 by admin Leave a reply »

Sometimes Google tells you things you don’t want to hear. While searching for information on medical marijuana for this week’s issue, I came across the website for a cannabis collective in Maine named for someone I was once good friends with, in college way back in 1992 and 1993, but lost touch with her around 1998. Kirsten Friberg was an artist, gallery manager and fashion designer. According to the website for Kirsten’s Compassion (, she was living in California when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004. It metastasized and paralyzed her before killing her in 2006, at the age of 32.

She used medical marijuana for pain and nausea, especially after she dropped down to 98 lbs. – a shocking weight for someone who was 5’9”. But it took her months to get a valid ID, a time when she relied on opiate pain medication that made her hallucinate, according to the group’s website.

While it might be too much to say that Kirsten was the public face of the 2009 citizens’ initiative campaign that strengthened Maine’s medical marijuana protections, Kirsten’s death turned her older brother Eric Friberg, 40, into one of that state’s leading medical marijuana advocates. He and his fiancée, Elizabeth Thorman, told her story to the media numerous times, and run the collective named in her honor.

Eric Friberg is also widely credited with helping reassure law enforcement in the state that the medical marijuana law wouldn’t spark a rise in crime. The campaign in

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