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Patient Seeks Pardon For Pot Possession Conviction

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CHICAGO (CBS) — The state’s new medical marijuana law has a little-known provision that allows felons to purchase pot.

People convicted of marijuana possession could obtain a card to purchase the drug for medical use, but they need to prove they were using it in the past for medical reasons.

In this Original Report, CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker spoke with a Chicago woman who would qualify for the waiver.

However, she is taking no chances, and is now asking Gov. Pat Quinn to pardon her crime.

Michelle DiGiacomo seems like the perfect candidate for medical marijuana. She has at least five ailments that would allow her to purchase pot under the new law.

She also has a criminal record

“I have a lot of different disorders. I have spinal plate in my neck,” she said. “I’m unable to get a certificate to purchase because I’m a felon.

DiGiacomo was arrested for possession just five months before Quinn signed the bill legalizing medical marijuana. She ordered it from a dispensary in California and had it delivered to her home.

She pleaded guilty to the charge of possessing 1.5 pounds of pot, but she is now asking the governor for a pardon.

“I used medical cannabis because I needed it,” DiGaicomo said. “It’s the most effective drug to help my disorders.”

Attorney Bradley Vallerius is preparing the petition on behalf of DiGaicomo. The file includes letters from her doctors, confirming her use of marijuana for chronic pain.

The file also includes letters from principals, parents and students who benefit from the “Letters to Santa” program DiGaicomo runs every Christmas.

“The community doesn’t want to label her a felon,” Vallerius said. “The community doesn’t see her as villainous user of dangerous drugs. She’s hoping the governor has the same view.”

“I’m hoping the governor will show some mercy on me and understand,” DiGaicomo said.