First marijuana clinic in Riverside to open Thursday

An 80-year-old great-grandmother from Temecula could be the first person to get a legal recommendation in the city of Riverside to use marijuana for medicinal reasons.

Iris Berger said she plans to use the drug to ease the pain of arthritis in her hands and back. She is scheduled to be the first patient at a medical marijuana clinic opening Thursday at 647 N. Main St., in northern Riverside.

"It seems to help," said Berger, whose son and daughter-in-law are longtime medical marijuana users and advocates. The couple won a three-year legal battle in late 2003 after being arrested for growing marijuana to treat their chronic illnesses.

It means people looking for a recommendation will not have to travel out to Orange County or Los Angeles

Berger's son, Martin Victor, said he is proud that his mother will be the clinic's first patient.

Victor, 55, uses marijuana to soothe cluster headaches he suffers as a result of a progressive eye disease and fibromyalgia. His wife, La Vonne, 52, uses the drug because of her multiple sclerosis, emphysema, panic attacks and compressed vertebrae in her back.

The couple was originally charged with felony counts of cultivation and distribution. Their case ended after Martin Victor pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor of providing less than an ounce of pot to a roommate, who Victor said took it without his knowledge or consent.

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