Medical marijuana is abused like there is no tomorrow. Hell, marijuana in general is abused like there’s no tomorrow. Just take a stroll around Venice, California and see for yourself. But there comes a time when the benefits of the drug remind us why it is so crucial to give people the access they need to improve their well-being.
The citizens of Scotch Plains, New Jersey have shown amazing tenacity in the case of two-year-old Vivian Wilson. Due to a rare form of epilepsy known as Dravet syndrome, Vivian has suffered from frequent and violent seizures since she was two months old, presenting an eminent danger to a young developing mind.
Her parents, Brian and Meghan Wilson, have made headlines in their fight to get their daughter a strain of marijuana with high levels of CBD (short for cannabidiol), which is non-psychoactive, and that has shown success for children with Dravet syndrome.
The medical marijuana bill inspired by Brian and Meghan’s daughter was voted on by the New Jersey State Assembly Monday afternoon and passed with a vote of 55-13-8.
State Assemblywoman Linda Stender (D) and State Senator Nicholas Scutari (D) were the two who sponsored the bill that would rectify the most trying obstacles in the Wilsons' path, including having a psychiatrist sign off on Vivian's treatment and finding the specific strain of medical marijuana necessary, since dispensaries in New Jersey sell no more than three strains, all of which are likely psychoactive. Not to mention edible products, the main way children can take the drug, may not be sold either.
However, the Wilsons overcame each of these three issues, making Vivian one of the youngest card-carrying medical marijuana patients. The bill must now only take its final step and be signed off by Governor Chris Christie.
However, the future may not be so certain when the bill faces Christie. When Christie was asked about the family last month, he responded that he was "very concerned, if we go down this slope of allowing minors to use this, where it ends. So I'll have the health commissioner look at it, report back to me. But I don't want to mislead people, either. I'm not inclined to allow them to have it."
But for Vivian, medical marijuana may be the Hail Mary she needs. Every 7-10 days, this two-year-old girl has a full-body convulsive seizure where she loses consciousness, which can last from 20 minutes to more than an hour and stop her breathing. These seizures are brought on by stress, excitement, or any external stimuli and she experiences "anywhere from 10 to hundreds" of smaller, myotonic seizures every day.
If this policy is not passed, Vivian will have to continue her current invasive medication, a benzodiazepine called midazolam, which is shot up her nose with a syringe during the seizure.
During her first birthday, Vivian was so excited by having chocolate cake she experienced a non-stop seizure that put her in the ICU for a week. If medical marijuana is the next step to dramatically changing the life of this 2-year-old girl, it’s time to reevaluate the position of medical marijuana in policy.