Although some may consider giving marijuana to children immoral or even illegal, one Colorado parent is speaking up about how it has helped her child recover from seizures.
Charlotte, 6, was born with a rare form of epilepsy called Dravet syndrome. From the age of 2, Charlotte began to have violent seizures, some lasting up to four hours long. Eventually, she had up to 50 seizures a day and sometimes, 300 a week. By age 3, Charlotte couldn’t walk, talk or eat, and and she tried every pharmaceutical medication available to help control the seizures, but nothing worked.
Her mother, Paige, confesses, "I can't believe I'm admitting this, but I was asking for her to just let go and die."
Dravet syndrome, also known as severe myoclonic epilepsy of infancy (SMEI), is a catastrophic form of epilepsy that in 30 to 80 percent of cases, is caused by defects in a gene required for the proper function of brain cells. Individuals with Dravet syndrome face a higher rate of sudden, unexplained death in epilepsy (SUDEP).
Paige says she had no opinion about medical marijuana prior to giving it to Charlotte. But now, she believes it saved her daughter's life. "It's shocking to me. It's just as shocking to me as probably it is to hear this story, but it’s our miracle," Paige says. "It's all I have right now."
Colorado Marijuana Facts
• 67% of registered medical marijuana users are male.
• The average age of all patients is 42.
• The average age of all male patients is 41.
• The average age of all female patients is 44.
• Currently 60 patients are minors (under the age of 18).
• Severe pain accounts for 94 percent of all reported conditions.
• Muscle spasms account for the second-most reported condition at 14 percent.
• More than 800 different physicians have signed on for current patients.
• As of Dec. 10, 2012, marijuana has been legalized for personal use in Colorado.
• Private possession of up to one ounce of marijuana, hash and concentrates by persons 21 years of age or older carries no penalty.
• Private cultivation of up to six marijuana plants, with no more than three being mature, carries no penalty.
• Transfer of one ounce or less for no remuneration carries no penalty.
• Possession of paraphernalia is a Class 2 minor offense that is punishable by a fine of up to $100.
• Fifty-four percent of Colorado voters approved Amendment 20 on November 7, 2000.
• Amends the state’s constitution to recognize the medical use of marijuana.
• Removes state-level criminal penalties on the use, possession and cultivation of marijuana.
• Patients must possess written documentation from their physician affirming that he or she suffers from a debilitating condition.
• Illnesses afforded legal protection include cancer, glaucoma and HIV or AIDS. Or the patient has a chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition that produces one or more of the following: cachexia (wasting syndrome); chronic pain; muscle spasms; severe nausea and severe pain.
• Patients may legally possess no more than two ounces of usable marijuana and cultivate no more than six marijuana plants.
• The law establishes a confidential, state-run patient registry that issues identification cards to qualifying patients.
• Patients who do not join the registry, or possess greater amounts of marijuana than allowed by law, may argue the "affirmative defense of medical necessity" if they are arrested on marijuana charges.
Medical Marijuana Dispensaries
• House Bill 1284, signed into law on June 7, 2010, establishes state provisions regulating medical cannabis dispensaries.
• The law requires medical marijuana dispensing facilities to obtain state and local licensing approval and to be in compliance with all local zoning codes.
• Dispensaries must pay a state licensing fee and shall be located no closer than 1,000 feet from a school or daycare.
• Operators must oversee the cultivation of at least 70 percent of the marijuana dispensed at the center.
• Licensed dispensary owners will be required to undergo criminal background checks by the state.
Marijuana Sale to Minors
• Minors may be legal medical marijuana patients as long as they have parental consent.
• A "primary caregiver" must be at least eighteen years old and have significant responsibility for managing the well-being of a patient.
• The caregiver may legally grow, possess and distribute marijuana for the patient.
• There is no restriction on the number of patients that one primary caregiver may serve.
• The caregiver's name and address will appear on the patient's registry ID.
Sale of Concentrated Marijuana
• Under the Colorado state medical marijuana law, "marijuana concentrate" is defined as being identical to "marijuana" for medical purposes.
• Forms of concentrated cannabis such as hash, oils, edibles and any other substances derived from marijuana, are afforded the same protections as marijuana itself.