Virginia Family Moves to Colorado to Treat Epileptic Child with Cannabis Oil

Last year, Dara Lightle and her nine-year-old daughter, Madeleine, became “marijuana refugees” when they moved from Virginia to Colorado. At the time, Madeleine was suffering from hundreds of seizures a day. Her doctors in Virginia recommended brain surgery. Then Dara heard how cannabis oil had treated children suffering from similar conditions. The oil worked. But since the oil was considered an illegal drug in much of the country, they had to move to Colorado, where it is legal, to continue treatment. According to the Colorado Springs Gazette, at least 115 “marijuana refugee families” from 43 states have left jobs, homes and family so they could obtain the cannabis oil to treat a variety of ailments.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Today we look at marijuana refugees—people and families who have uprooted their lives and moved to Colorado with the hope of obtaining medical marijuana to treat various illnesses. Many are families with young children who suffer from epilepsy and relentless seizures. According to the Colorado Springs Gazette, at least 115 marijuana refugee families from 43 states have left jobs, homes and the rest of their family so they could obtain oil made from a special strain of cannabis that have repeatedly quelled the seizures in a handful of kids in Colorado Springs.

AMY GOODMAN: The Colorado Springs Gazette recently published a piece about nine-year-old Madeleine Lightle and her mother Dara, who moved from Virginia to Colorado. In a moment, Madeleine and her mother will join us, but first let’s turn to this video about their story produced by the Colorado Springs Gazette.

MADELEINE LIGHTLE: Hi. My name is Madeleine.

DARA LIGHTLE: When I think of a child who has seizures, I think of a very low-functioning child. So, to see my high-functioning child and imagine her losing function was very scary. There was hope that she wouldn’t have any more, that that would be it, she would just have one. And then she had another one about a month later. And then it’s like you go through all those emotions again. You don’t know what’s going to happen. And, you know, earlier that year, I’d been wondering: Why can’t she do math anymore? You know, I’m trying to teach her the same grade over and over again, and nothing is sticking.

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