The Real Hero of the Cannabis Industry.
There are an estimated 2,604,079 medical marijuana users in the United States, according to ProCon.org. Yet out of those more than two million patients, the number of children who are legally allowed to reap the benefits of medical marijuana is extremely low:
Only 500 children in Colorado currently use marijuana for medicinal uses.
Medical marijuana can alleviate a number of ailments, symptoms and diseases in children, including epilepsy, cancer and autism. Yet, there is still a stigma attached to marijuana--especially when it pertains to children. More and more parents are discovering the benefits of medical marijuana.
Unfortunately, children are often denied access to a treatment that can alleviate symptoms or possibly even save their lives. And even if states where children have legal access to cannabis, there can be tragic consequences for treatments. Parents can be arrested for exposing children to cannabis and families can be torn apart by child protective services.
The United States has taken great strides to legalizing marijuana use for medicinal purposes. In 29 states, medical cannabis is legal for adult use--with restrictions. Medical marijuana can help alleviate symptoms and side-effects for everything from chemotherapy treatments to the cancer itself.
It was found to be beneficial in subsiding epilepsy seizures, preventing cancer cells from spreading, alleviating the pressure from glaucoma, decreasing anxiety and treating autism.
Yet even with all of the health benefits, there is still a stigma attached to medical marijuana. Even though it is considered legal by 29 states, it is still illegal in the eyes of the federal government.
This is why hundreds of people flock to Colorado for medical marijuana treatments each year. They are called marijuana refugees. Organizations like Realm of Caring help raise money for these refugees. They have over 2,000 people on the waiting list.
Of the 29 states that have legalized medical marijuana, 26 states do not allow cannabis in public schools. This can make it difficult for children to medicate throughout the day. Many children are faced with the decision between continuing their treatment and staying home from school.
Child Protective Services is also an issue. In many states, kids can be removed from their homes for using medical marijuana. Not only are these kids being taken away from their families, but they are also being taken from their treatment options.
Listen to Stacey's Story
Parents can also be arrested for providing these treatments for their children. Since the definition of exposure is so loosely defined in certain states, kids can be removed from the home--even if parents are the ones using marijuana for medicinal purposes.
Enter the CannAbility Foundation. The purpose of the CannAbility Foundation is to raise awareness on the laws that keep medical marijuana from the children and parents who need it. The organization was started in 2015 on the idea that children and parents should never bear more of the burden than anyone else in the fight for medical marijuana use.
The foundation also focuses on the safe and responsible use of medical cannabis. CannAbility's motto is: Educate. Advocate. Empower.
Cannability helps kids like Jack Splitt--who also happens to be the son of CannAbility founder, Stacey Linn, an advocate for Jack's Amendment. Jack is a 15-year-old boy who suffers from cerebral palsy. Both Stacey and Jack found that medical marijuana helped increase the quality of Jack's life tremendously.
Stacey began advocating for the amendment to the Senate Medical Marijuana Caregivers Bill in Colorado that would allow children like Jack to continue to medicate on school property. Since 2015, Stacey has been pushing for more support to help Jack and other kids who feel like they need to make the choice between their medical treatments and school.
Other success stories include Alexis Bortell, an 11-year old girl with epilepsy. Her mother moved her to Colorado to experiment with medical marijuana. In 2016, the family reported Alexis had been seizure-free for almost two years.