If your child could potentially die from a severe seizure, how would you respond? What steps would you take to ensure that everything possible which could be done to save them was being done?
For a father in Georgia, that terrible quandary has been a reality for 15 years. There’s one substance that could finally improve his son’s quality of life for good, but since the state still bans research into it, there’s no way of them accessing the substance. That substance is marijuana.
The Buffingtons’ long fight
Mike Buffington tries to keep things in perspective, saying that in comparison to several other cases, “My son’s been lucky.” Indeed, Mike’s son Clark has had the care of some of America’s best epilepsy doctors, and they have consulted with some of the best epilepsy experts in the country and around the world. Clark has been administered every permitted drug to try to help with his seizures.
Clark experienced his first seizure 15 years ago when he was just 6 years old. Clark’s left frontal lobe has many tiny holes, which are the cause of his seizures. Clark’s condition has no name, but two parts of his brain were removed over the course of two surgeries. After the second surgery, Clark was left with a serious speech impediment that remained with him for many months. The stimulator sending electricity through his skull twice a minute hasn’t helped to cut down seizures, and many doctors considered taking out the whole left hemisphere of Clark’s brain to be the best course of action.
Fifteen years later and at the age of 21, Clark still requires 24/7 care unless he experiences a life-threatening seizure. Should a seizure become status, which many of Clark’s do, then there’s no way for them to naturally stop.
Dismay at Georgia’s legislation
Frustratingly for Mike, he had seen the help that other children with similar conditions to Clark were getting in other states through medical cannabis oil – in particular, CBD-dominant oil. Mike’s hopes were that Georgia would recognize the success of legalizing CBD in other states, and follow suit in making the cultivation, sale and possession of CBD products available for medicinal use.
Georgia lawmakers did pass a bill permitting Peach state citizens to acquire up to 20oz of CBD oil. However, they made no provisions for the cultivation or dispensing of this marijuana-derived oil.
This contradictory legislation has put parents of children who could benefit from this oil in a tricky situation. There’s no way of them legally buying CBD products in Georgia, but should they obtain them through other means (i.e. from another state and transporting it back home), Georgia state law would protect them.
However, to do this, parents would break federal law by crossing state borders with a federally prohibited, Schedule I substance. And to buy these medicinal oils from a legalized state, they would have to prove that they reside in the state. In short, while there may well be ways for Georgians to get CBD oil back home, they aren’t any legal ones.
Georgians are frustrated
Mike has had enough of the inaction and, seemingly deliberate prevention, of Georgia patients being able to obtain their much-needed medication, and is carrying out an act of civil disobedience. Mike is growing a marijuana plant at home, and streaming it on Livestream for the state of Georgia, the country and the whole world to see.
Marijuana prohibition has kind of failed in Georgia, with citizens still readily consuming marijuana, hence Mike’s initial plan was to grow from bag seed. But he ultimately decided to be a bit more sensible, and order a seed from a CBD-dominant strain – the sort of strain that medicinal extracts suitable for his son could be taken from.
Mike explained that he will plant the seed in the spring, maintain it and “watch it grow on my sunny front porch.” Brave stuff.
While Mike is under no illusions that the plant he is growing won’t be able to help his son, he hopes that his act of civil disobedience will create enough of a stir for Georgia’s political leaders to “take off their blinders” and permit necessary research into the marijuana plant that could save lives.
Do you think Mike’s move is great for the marijuana cause, or does it just give it a bad name? Do you think the federal government will ever reconsider cannabis prohibition? Why not send us your thoughts on this story in the comments.