In what I-1149 co-author Douglas Hiatt has called “the worst setback for Washington medical-marijuana patients I’ve seen,” Governor Gregoire eviscerated a hotly contested and heavily amended medical-marijuana bill Friday. A day earlier, Montana crushed its own dispensary system. Both states will now require patients to be their own grower or take part in a co-op yielding no more than a three-patient supply.
In the midst of this hysteria, consider the story of Cash Hyde, a 2-year-old who wouldn’t be alive without the cancer-fighting cannabis plant. Cash is Montana’s youngest medical marijuana cardholder. Faced with a life-threatening illness, the Hyde family is not the first to risk criminal penalties and a loss of custody:
- Mieko Hester-Perez’s severely autistic 10-year-old son was starving to death. He’d become aggressive and was hurting himself. With her son weighing no more than 46 pounds and no other options, Hester-Perez turned to cannabis. He calmed down, began vocalizing for the first time, and as often happens for cannabis patients, no longer needed many of his usual prescription medications.
- 12-year-old Ryan Mendoza begged his mother: “I want you to run me down…I don’t want to live anymore. I don’t want to live with this OCD anymore.” Like other underage medical marijuana patients, Ryan receives his dose orally, and can manage his OCD without being at risk of a fatal overdose.
We’re not saying children, or anyone for that matter, should abuse drugs. Far from it: cannabis can lead to impairment in the developing brain. Patients with children need to ensure their children’s access is restricted like any other medicine. But the fact is while this plant can’t kill you, cancer might. And your tax dollars are being used to raid businesses seeking legitimacy and the right to provide safe access to sick and dying patients.
Since prohibitionists are fond of asking “What about the children?” Let’s turn it back on them: what about these children? Joey, and Ryan, and Cash?
“Are people not going to get treatment that need it? Yes. But on the other hand people who shouldn’t be using it aren’t going to get it.”
Who are you to tell our children whether they should live or die?