Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia currently recognize the vast therapeutic potential of the cannabis plant, which millions of people across the country rely on for safe relief from chronic pain, neurological disease, seizures, paralysis, sleeping disorders, anxiety, poor appetite, gut dysfunction and many other health conditions. But those who use medical marijuana to improve their quality of life are still being treated like second-class citizens, even in states like Colorado where cannabis is openly accepted.
Fourteen-year-old Jack Splitt, a special-needs student at Everitt Middle School in Wheat Ridge, recently experienced Reefer Madness-era prejudice when his life-saving medicines were taken away from him by ignorant school officials. Citing corrupt federal prohibition laws, administrators seized the medicine and told the boy that he couldn’t return to school with it ever again.
Young Jack suffers from spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy and dystonia, and medical marijuana is the only safe and effective treatment that allows him to function and learn without the extreme side effects that come with taking pharmaceutical drugs. According to TheDenverChannel.com, Jack normally wears a transdermal cannabis patch throughout the day that provides him time-released, highly bioavailable doses of healing cannabinoids, and he also takes a special cannabis oil high in cannabidiol, or CBD, which a school nurse who stays with him throughout the day administers in intervals.
To get an idea of what these products look like, check out the offerings of Colorado-based Mary’s Medicinals:
Without these cannabis products, Jack’s muscles tighten up and spasm so severely that he can’t walk or talk, and has trouble breathing — he is basically non-functional. When he takes his cannabis, though, Jack is able to thrive in the classroom and do what he loves to do: learn.
“It scares me to death that medicine can be taken away from him, medicine that saves his life,” lamented Jack’s mother, Stacey Linn, to local reporters. “He loves to learn, and that’s his whole life. He doesn’t get to go play soccer, he gets to learn. And without these medications, he can’t do that either. It’s heartbreaking.”
Conventional pharmaceuticals cause horrible side effects, turn Jack into a “zombie,” says mother
The school’s excuse for confiscating Jack’s medicines — the federal government sees them as “illegal” — simply isn’t valid, because medical marijuana is legal under Colorado’s constitution. Medical marijuana patients are entitled to the same freedoms as medical pharmaceutical patients, who are encouraged to take psychoactive medications like Ritalin at public schools.
Jack’s medical cannabis doesn’t even contain THC, the psychoactive compound commonly attributed to marijuana. But even if it did, his choice of therapeutics isn’t the business of school officials, who are obligated under the law to respect medical marijuana patients and treat them exactly as they would all other medical patients, regardless of federal corruption that irrationally classifies cannabis as a “Schedule I drug.”
“They sedate him completely,” explained Jack’s mother Stacey to reporters about all the pharmaceuticals that were prescribed to her son prior to the marijuana. “They just turn him into a zombie.”
Discrimination against medical marijuana patients is also occurring in California, where the medical system currently refuses to perform organ transplants on patients who use cannabis medicine, a policy that could soon change with new legislation that would protect medical cannabis patients from being discriminated against.
“I was able to eat again,” explained Justin Turley, who suffers from cirrhosis, to The Huffington Post about how medical cannabis helped him. Like in Jack’s case, conventional pharmaceuticals turned Justin into a “zombie,” so he decided to take cannabis instead, with incredible success.
“I could deal with the pain and not have to be completely removed from social situations. It helped me alleviate my problems without all the complications.”