The fight to get kids on drugs; Parents' pleas for medical marijuana cards growing
By Maggie Vespa. CREATED Aug 28, 2013
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - 'Keep kids off drugs'.
It is a staple slogan in our society, but what if, say some, those drugs are the only way to help a child in pain?
That's a battle brewing across the country and right here in Tucson.
"He's just a little boy that's trapped in this craziness," said Jennifer Welton.
For five years, she has watched her son suffer.
Zander has a rare brain disorder, that causes several seizures a week.
Now, it's his latest treatment that's making national news.
"If this works for Zander and I finally get to meet who he is, that would be amazing," said Welton.
The five year-old Mesa boy is Arizona's newest medical marijuana patient.
Zack Re hopes he is next.
"It just hits me without any warning," he said.
The Tucson teen and his father Leonard both suffer from osteochondroma.
In short painful, sporratic tumors grow on their bones.
"It's like one minute I'm perfectly fine, and the next minute I get this sharp pain and it just burns," he said.
Two years ago, the pair obtained MMJ cards to ease the pain.
Later, Leonard's now-resolved legal troubles caused those cards to be revoked.
He says his son deserves to be a kid again.
"This child went from being in pain every day to being able to be bearable and running around like a normal kid," he said.
But not everyone believes marijuana is the best medicine.
"This is more like child abuse," said State Representative John Kavanagh.
Kavanagh tried earlier this year to repeal Arizona's medical marijuana statute.
He points to research, including new studies out this week from the University of Montreal and New York's Mount Sainai School of Medicine.
They say use among teens causes longterm harm to their mental health, education and attainment abilities, and delinquency.
"How any doctor could prescribe this or how any parent could allow this is beyond my ability to understand," said Kavanagh (R-Scottsdale).
But it's an argument that isn't swaying these parents, who are sick of seeing their children in pain.
According to the state's Department of Health Services, there are currently 39 medical marijuana card-holders in Arizona under the age of 18.