Every month for the last 28 years, Rosenfeld has received 300 joints from the government, sealed in large tins and delivered to his local pharmacy. The marijuana comes from cannabis plants grown by the government on a small farm at the University of Mississippi. The plants are sent to Raleigh, N.C., where the National Institute of Drug Addiction dries them and prepares the cigarettes.
The federal government has traditionally cracked down on states that allow medical marijuana. When the bulk of the program it ran was shut down in the early 1990s, Rosenfeld twice sued and won to be allowed access to federally-grown weed.
Despite the federal government's efforts to grow and produce high quality marijuana, the government's position is decidedly against its use.
The Drug Enforcement Agency does not refer to medical marijuana on its Web site without putting the word "medical" in quotes, and insists there is little science to support the use of smoking marijuana for medicinal purposes.
"There are no FDA-approved medications that are smoked. For one thing, smoking is generally a poor way to deliver medicine. It is difficult to administer safe, regulated dosages of medicines in smoked form. Secondly, the harmful chemicals and carcinogens that are byproducts of smoking create entirely new health problems. There are four times the level of tar in a marijuana cigarette, for example, than in a tobacco cigarette," the DEA says on its Web site.
In March, the Obama administration shifted federal policy away from prosecuting medical-marijuana dispensers in states where distribution had been legalized.
Only once, in 1983, was Rosenfeld arrested for possession. He was picked up in Orlando by a policeman who didn't initially believe his use was federally protected.
Ever since then, he said, he has carried a letter from his local police chief and a security officer at the Miami airport, explaining that he has permission to possess the drugs.