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Delta grounds man over legal pot stash

©Associated Press

© St. Petersburg Times, published August 17, 2001


FORT LAUDERDALE -- A man has asked for an apology from Delta Air Lines for not allowing him on a flight with his prescribed medicinal marijuana.

FORT LAUDERDALE -- A man has asked for an apology from Delta Air Lines for not allowing him on a flight with his prescribed medicinal marijuana.

Irvin Rosenfeld said Wednesday that the airline violated the Americans With Disabilities Act.

The 48-year-old Boca Raton stockbroker has a rare and painful bone disease and has smoked legally prescribed, government-grown marijuana in smoking lounges, medical clinics and police substations of airports. Rosenfeld said marijuana relaxes his muscles so multiple tumors that form on the long bones in his body do not rupture muscle and veins, which could cause him to bleed to death.

Rosenfeld said that in the 19 years he has used medicinal marijuana, he has called ahead, informed Delta of his needs and been accommodated with a place to smoke.

In March, when he had to fly to Washington to testify before the U.S. Supreme Court about medical marijuana use, Rosenfeld called in advance, as usual. He said he left messages and never got a call back.

On March 26, the day of the flight and about 30 minutes before takeoff, he was paged and asked to report to Delta customer service. Rosenfeld said a Delta employee told him he would not be allowed to board with the marijuana.

"If I was a diabetic, would they expect me to board the plane without my insulin?" he said. Rosenfeld booked a flight on another carrier.

Rosenfeld, who has a lawyer, said he is giving Delta 30 days to apologize, reimburse the $450 it cost him to buy the ticket on the other airline and promise that such discrimination will not happen again.

Delta officials are investigating the claim, said spokeswoman Cindi Kurczewski.

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