ARIZONA: The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Arizona filed a lawsuit Monday in the Superior Court of Arizona for Maricopa County to protect the parents of five-year-old Zander Welton from criminal prosecution for successfully treating their son’s debilitating seizures with a medical marijuana extract.
The lawsuit names as defendants the state of Arizona, Gov. Janice Brewer, Maricopa County Attorney William Montgomery, the Arizona Department of Health Services and the Director of the Arizona Department of Health Services William Humble.
Zander’s severe epilepsy is one symptom of his focal cortical dysplasia type 2A, a rare, congenital condition. Another is autism. Earlier this year, the Arizona Department of Health Services approved the medical marijuana application his parents submitted for Zander and issued a medical marijuana patient identification card for him.
Said ACLU attorney Emma Andersson: “When Arizona’s voters said yes to legalizing medical marijuana for seriously ill patients in 2010, they certainly meant the plant as well as extracts from the plant. Casting a cloud of criminality over medical marijuana extracts is wrong and cruel. After seeing not one but two brain surgeries fail to help their son, Zander’s parents finally found an effective treatment in a medical marijuana extract—they don’t deserve to be scared off from the best medicine available for Zander. Zander deserves to have access to this life-changing treatment.”
Because some top officials have suggested that only the marijuana plant itself is legal for medicinal purposes and thus any extracts derived from the plant are illegal, Zander’s parents, Jennifer and Jacob Welton, stopped giving Zander the oil for fear of criminal prosecution.
The oil containing the marijuana extract, in combination with dried marijuana plant, had reduced Zander’s seizures dramatically.