When the mainstream thinks of the prohibition of marijuana, they envision legions of young people who want to smoke a joint.
What they don’t envision is the legions of young people whose lives are devastated, derailed and deceased. What they don’t realize is that PROHIBITION KILLS, every day.
Prohibition kills tens of thousands of Mexicans, Guatemalans, Hondurans and other people south of our border who war over the trafficking of what we prohibit.
Prohibition kills Americans who end up in a prohibition deal gone bad, be they dealers, buyers or undercover cops.
Most tragically, prohibition kills children who simply needed a prohibited plant to live.
Cyndimae Meehan was one of those children.
At 10 months old, Cyndimae developed Dravet Syndrome—a rare form of epilepsy that we’ve seen chronicled in little Paige Figi, the subject of Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s Weed documentary.
When Cyndimae was diagnosed by doctors in her home state of Connecticut in June 2002, there were just eight states with medical marijuana programs (Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Nevada, Oregon and Washington).
None of them had yet made progress in understanding the use of cannabidiol (CBD) to treat seizures, though all of them allowed for the use of cannabis to treat it.
Cyndimae grew up wracked by devastating seizures. She was given every pharmaceutical option doctors had available. Most of them were ineffective. Some of them made her conditions worse.
Cyndimae’s development suffered. As she grew from toddler to little girl, she lost the ability to walk, to talk, to even eat. Every seizure she suffered could have been her last.
Imagine that’s your child. Imagine the frustration and anger and helplessness and sorrow at watching this demon of epilepsy abuse your innocent daughter.
Early in 2009, parents in Colorado and the West Coast began sharing stories of how medical marijuana, particularly strains high in CBD, was having miraculous effects for their autistic and epileptic children.
By 2012, Connecticut’s legislature passed a medical marijuana law. However, it does not allow for pediatric uses of cannabis.
In 2013, Dr. Gupta’s documentary aired.
Now imagine that you’ve been watching your child suffer for a decade. You’ve given her 23 different medicines that science has to offer, to no avail. You read Facebook posts of western parents finding relief with CBD. Your state finally makes it legal, and Dr. Gupta provides the public awareness that convinces you that this CBD treatment is the hope for your child.
But your state says she’s too young for that miracle. You have to uproot your whole family and move to save her life.
Cyndimae’s mother, Susan, forged ahead in 2013, moving herself and Cyndimae to Maine, where she began treating Cyndimae with cannabidiol oil.
The change was remarkable. She re-learned how to talk. She was able to leave her wheelchair and walk. This month, she had been bowling and visited a water park.
Cyndimae and her family became fierce advocates for medical marijuana. They testified to the Connecticut legislature, begging for recognition of pediatric use, explaining their plight as “medical marijuana refugees” in Maine.
They also lobbied in their adopted state of Maine for legislation to allow for pediatric use of cannabidiol in schools.
The rest of Cyndimae’s family moved to Maine last year, but her father stayed behind in Connecticut for work. On Saturday, he was in Augusta at the family home where Cyndimae was playing and coloring. She had a short seizure and asked her daddy to hold her.
In his arms, she stopped breathing and died.
This death, and all the others, is on the hands of countless bureaucrats, law enforcers and propagandists—from Harry J. Anslinger to Kevin Sabet. It is the fear they’ve propagated for over a century, based in racism and anti-liberalism, that killed Cyndimae.
FEAR – False Evidence Appearing Real.
Fear that “reefer makes the darkies think they’re as good as white men.”
Fear that “marijuana is the gateway drug to heroin.”
Fear that “smoking marijuana leads to a 6-point drop in IQ.”
So much fear, misinformation and slander over a non-toxic healing herb.
In 1878, the Philadelphia Medical Times published, “Cannabis indica in the treatment of epilepsy.”
In 1885, Medical & Surgical Reporter published, “Notes on the treatment of epilepsy,” addressing the use of cannabis in its treatment.
In the 1910 textbook, “Therapeutics, Materia Medica and Pharmacy,” three pages are dedicated to the use of cannabis in treating epilepsy.
By 1937, the United States banned cannabis through the Marihuana Tax Act.
By 1942, cannabis had been removed from the U.S. Pharmacopeia (the physician’s guide to medicines).
If the crusade to stop adults from smoking pot for fun had never occurred, how much further along in the medical uses of cannabis would we be today?
Cannabis wouldn’t be the medicine of last resort, only available through desperate cross-country moves. It would be the first medicine you’d give your seizing child, and it would be available over the counter.
Even today, with 24* medical marijuana states, those states either ban pediatric use or make it very arduous to comply with the law to use a non-toxic, non-psychoactive cannabis derivative, because of the fear of teenagers smoking pot for fun.
Other states have recognized the plight of these children and passed CBD-only laws specifically for epileptic children. But parents there often find that CBD without some THC doesn’t work for their child, and, like 10-year-old Texan Alexis Bortell, they have to leave their CBD state for Colorado, where they can use some THC as well.
Today, there are more Americans (51 percent) living in a medical marijuana state than not. Medical marijuana states make up 273 votes in the Electoral College, three more than needed to elect a president. Support for medical use of cannabis polls between 65 to 90 percent, depending on who you ask.
It is far past time to end this prohibition at the federal level and to free doctors in every state to pursue research and treatment of disability and disease with cannabis.
*Assuming Pennsylvania’s governor signs their passed law, which hasn’t happened as of press time.
(Photo Courtesy of WCSH6)