Currently 20 states and the District of Columbia have approved, and regulate in some capacity, marijuana for medical purposes. However, insurance companies do not cover the costs of such prescriptions. Federally, marijuana remains a Schedule I drug, making it against the law to possess. But the debate over marijuana is growing. We speak to Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Dave Philipps of the Colorado Springs Gazette. His most recent article is “As success stories of kids fighting seizures with cannabis oil mount, legal landscape is changing.” We also speak to the pioneering medical marijuana doctor Dr. Margaret Gedde and a mother who moved with her epileptic nine-year-old daughter to Colorado for cannabis oil treatment.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: We continue our conversation on medical cannabis. Currently 20 states and the District of Columbia approve and regulate, in some capacity, marijuana for medical purposes. However, insurance companies do not cover the costs of such prescriptions. Federally, marijuana remains a Schedule I drug.
For more, we’re joined by Dr. Margaret Gedde. She founded the Clinicians’ Institute for Cannabis Medicine. Gedde is also the owner and founder of Gedde Whole Health in Colorado Springs.
AMY GOODMAN: And we’re joined by Dave Philipps. He’s an investigative reporter with the Colorado Springs Gazette. He has spent the last year covering the rapid rise in the use of cannabis for medical purposes in epileptic children. His three-part series, “Other than Honorable,” was just awarded the Pulitzer Prize. He’s also the author of the book Lethal Warriors: When the New Band of Brothers Came Home. His most recent article in The Gazette is titled “As Success Stories of Kids Fighting Seizures with Cannabis Oil Mount, Legal Landscape Is Changing.”
Still with us, Dara Lightle, who moved to Colorado last October to seek treatment for her daughter, Maddy, who has epilepsy.
We welcome you all to Democracy Now! So, Dave Philipps, talk about how you first stumbled on this story.
DAVE PHILIPPS: This is the story about one family who was living in Colorado Springs who tried medical marijuana for their daughter because there was nothing left to try. Every pharmaceutical had failed. Every special diet had failed. There was nothing left, and she was going to die, a girl named Charlotte Figi. And so we wrote about her after she started using medical marijuana, this cannabis oil, and her seizures basically disappeared. I think she was having something like 400 a month, and now she has less than four. She was on her way to death—I mean, literally. And she is now, you know, a happy child who’s able to play with her friends. We wrote about that, and a few other people picked it up.
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