William N. Grigg
Alexis Carey suffers from Dravet Syndrome, a form of epilepsy that has left the nine-year-old unable to speak or use the bathroom. She is subject to violent seizures that can last an hour or longer.
No relief is provided by any of the FDA-approved medications available. When Alexis succumbs to a seizure — she sometimes endures sixty episodes a month — her parents, Michael and Clare, can do little more than act as witnesses to their daughter’s agony. Dravet-induced seizures can cause permanent brain damage, and many children thus afflicted don’t reach adulthood.
If the Careys lived in Utah, Alexis would have access to cannabidiol (CBD), an orally administered oil (sometimes called “Charlotte’s Web”) that has been very effective in treating Dravet’s Syndrome and a number of other illnesses, including some forms of cancer. However, the family resides in Idaho, where CBD is illegal because it is derived from the evil communist demon weed called marijuana.
CBD has a very low THC content, which means that it has no psychoactive effects. But this matters not to the Gem State’s noble defenders of public virtue: On February 20, 2013, the Idaho State Senate’s State Affairs Committee unanimously approved a measure resolving never to permit legalization of marijuana for any reason, and a second resolution petitioning the White House to carry out stern and strict enforcement of all federal anti-marijuana statutes.
The first was later approved by the full Legislature, but the latter was voted down.
Alexis’s parents have lobbied the state Legislature to enact an exception for CBD use in treatment of Dravet Syndrome. Although some legislators expressed sympathy, no tangible progress was made, which means that the family cannot expect relief until sometime next year, at best. In the meantime, Alexis’s condition will continue to deteriorate.
In desperation, Michael and Clare have considered moving to Colorado, where CBD is readily available. Rather than being forced into exile, they have contemplated the possibility of driving to Colorado and returning with a load of Charlotte’s Web. Given the opportunistic ruthlessness with which Idaho State Police troopers enforce — and exploit — the state’s marijuana ban, this would very likely mean that they would be intercepted at the border and face both imprisonment and the loss of everything they own through the state-licensed larceny called “asset forfeiture.”