These Parents Are Fighting To Give Pot To Their Kids

FLORIDA: When Moriah Barnhart’s 2-year-old daughter Dahlia was attacked by intense tremors, fever and nausea in May 2013, she rushed the girl to a Tampa emergency room. A week later, after surgery for an aggressive and cancerous brain tumor, Dahlia couldn’t eat, walk or talk.

Three weeks later, her left side partly paralyzed, Dahlia was moved to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis for experimental treatments. She soon stopped breathing, a device had to be implanted in her skull to drain excess fluid, and her chemotherapy drugs had spread sores throughout her mouth and gastrointestinal tract. Subsequent treatments caused nerve and brain damage, vomiting and weight loss.

Barnhart was determined to save her daughter’s life, but she agonized as the child struggled with pain and sickness. “You want to save your child. That’s your first and foremost instinct,” she said. “But after watching them suffer for so long it becomes a question of quality of life.”

Finally, after six months, Barnhart decided to try alternative treatments, ordering whole-plant extract cannabis oil sent to St. Jude’s and giving it to her daughter through a syringe. Dahlia, her mother said, awoke the next morning with a regular appetite after sleeping for more than a few hours for the first time in her life.

Moriah Barnhart

Dahlia Barnhart, who was given cannabis oil by her mother, Moriah.

Critics Take Aim At Marijuana Mascot

OHIO: A green and white superhero stumping for marijuana legalization votes at college campuses and bars in Ohio has sparked debate over its impact on children. “Buddie” is a fuzzy, ever-smiling pot bud in a bulging white muscle suit with green trunks, gloves and boots. He arrives in a truck painted with marijuana leaves declaring: “Yes on legalization.”

Children’s health advocates opposed to legalization said Buddie is reminiscent of Joe Camel, the cartoon dromedary proven so effective at marketing cigarettes to teenagers in the 1990s that R.J. Reynolds was forced to retire his image. They said the pot mascot makes light of a dangerous illegal drug in a manner appealing to kids. “We didn’t believe it when we saw the photos. We were pretty shocked,” said Nick Lashutka, president of the Ohio Children’s Hospitals Association that’s involved in fighting the legalization effort. “This is nothing less than a ploy to market to children.”

ResponsibleOhio, the campaign seeking in November to legalize marijuana for medical and recreational use, said Buddie is nothing like Joe Camel. Executive Director Ian James said the mascot is not marketing marijuana but asking for votes – and speaking exclusively to voting-age students. “Buddie only addresses people that are 18 and older, and Buddie works specifically with voters,” James said. “Buddie has no connection with anybody under 18 because anybody under 18 can’t vote.” Also, James said, Joe Camel’s tobacco product was legal whereas anyone selling marijuana in Ohio today “would go to jail.”

The Most Pernicious Marijuana Myth, Debunked

COLORADO:  If you read the national headlines or watch the reports on TV, you’d think there was a dangerous epidemic sweeping the nation’s youngsters. According to a recent study, more kids are accidentally ingesting their parents’ cannabis, especially in states where the herb is legal. When marijuana-laced edibles are wrapped in darling packaging to look like delicious cookies, brownies, chocolate bars and ice cream sandwiches, it follows that a few kids will accidentally eat them.

However, the general reaction to the study is waxing hysterical. In reality, as Mason Tvert of the Marijuana Policy Project pointed out in an email, the actual statistics of the study aren’t as alarming as they seem.

In the pot-legal state of Colorado, for example, where there are likely more marijuana businesses (and treats) than anywhere in the world, the study notes that the Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center (RMPDC) received 151 calls about marijuana exposure in 2014, 45 of which involved children 8 years old and younger. Those incidents should be taken seriously. But they don’t seem so outstanding when you stack them next to the 2,690 calls about children 5 and under being exposed to cosmetics, 1,495 regarding household cleaning product exposure, and 739 calls regarding vitamins—all of which RMPDC received in 2011.

Published in the journal Clinical Pediatrics, the study concluded accidental exposure to pot is increasingly common for children. It based its data on analysis of self-reported incidents between 2000 to 2013 from the National Poison Data System, which gathers its statistics from all of the poison control centers in the country. Naturally, pot-laced treats were the most common offender.

Parenting Tips For When Kids Ask About Marijuana

OREGON:  Now that marijuana is legal in Oregon, kids are likely to notice it at younger ages and encounter it more often, which could mean more questions for their parents.

We talked with parents to find out what children and teens are thinking about marijuana. Then we passed those questions along to Ruth Bichsel, a licensed psychologist and program director for the University of Oregon’s Substance Abuse Prevention Program, and Emily Moser, program manager for Youthline, a program of the nonprofit Lines for Life, whose mission includes substance abuse prevention.

“What is marijuana?”

Moser said she’d respond, “That’s an interesting question. Is there a reason you’re asking, and what do you think it is?”


Colorado Lawmaker Proposes Medical Marijuana Use At School

COLORADO:  A Colorado lawmaker says it’s time that children who are prescribed medical marijuana be allowed to use that marijuana at school.

The push began when a school in Jefferson County, Colorado, told a 14-year-old boy who suffers from cerebral palsy and relies on a cannabis patch along with low-THC oil to treat muscle spasms that he could no longer have access to his medication on campus because it was marijuana.

State Representative Jonathan Singer wants medical marijuana administered the same way as drugs like Adderall and Ritalin.

Children Involved In Marijuana-Related Calls To Oregon Poison Center

OREGON:  Eleven preschool-aged children were treated at Oregon healthcare facilities for marijuana ingestion in 2014, according to Oregon Poison Center data.

The previous year, seven children younger than 5 were treated at a healthcare facility after ingesting cannabis. In 2012, the number was 10.

The Oregon Poison Center, a statewide agency, does not track the types of marijuana ingested – whether the child ate a marijuana-infused edible or some other form of the drug — or the circumstances around the incident.

“These are small numbers,” said Dr. Zane Horowitz, medical director of the Oregon Poison Center as well as a medical toxicologist and an emergency room physician. “There are about 10 young children under the age of 5 per year, most likely inadvertently getting into marijuana that’s left unattended and unsecured.”


Late Christmas Present? Illinois Kids Get Access To Medical Marijuana

ILLINOIS:  Many parents in Illinois looking to marijuana as the ultimate treatment for their children’s health conditions are poised to receive a late Christmas gift.

According to a report from the Chicago Tribune, a new state rule allows kids who reside in Illinois access to medical marijuana by the turn of the year. Young users may only take the drug through marijuana-induced goods ranging from liquid drops to food products. The new regulations under the Illinois Department of Public Health will not allow them to take pot in its raw form to be lit for smoking.

This action stems from public clamor for marijuana treatment in children’s diseases such as seizures, muscular dystrophy and cancer.

Kids who will be treated using marijuana products may only obtain the drug under adult supervision, and with the approval of two doctors including their own physician.

Cuomo Wants Health Department To Speed Up Medical Marijuana Availability For Children With Epilepsy

NEW YORK:  Gov. Cuomo wants to make medical marijuana available soon to children with epilepsy — but he’s not acting quickly enough for the anguished mom of a 9-year-old girl who died this month.

Cuomo, in a letter Wednesday, asked the state Health Department to study making the drug available to epileptic children sooner than the 18-month time frame set by New York’s new medical marijuana law.

He cited the deaths of Anna Conte, 9, and Olivia Marie Newton, 3, both from the Buffalo area, who suffered from epilepsy.

Kids Using Marijuana

OREGON:  More than fifty of Oregon’s registered medical marijuana patients are under the age of 14.  These children typically use one or more components, called cannabinoids, extracted from cannabis, to control cancer (and arguably send it into remission,) or to address OCD and pediatric epilepsy or to abate symptoms like chronic pain.

These results are achieved, patients and their parents say, without the dangerous side effects of conventional pharmaceuticals.

Medical studies around the world suggest that these uses are valid and beneficial and the American Medical Association has proposed reclassifying research into medical marijuana so it has a higher priority; one study at the University of California San Francisco began this spring.

However, the young Oregonians and their families say that, in addition to fighting a daily battle against combative medical conditions, they also face prejudice and derision and frequently feel pressure to keep quiet about their therapy.


Vancouver MP Claims Liberal Party Promoting Marijuana To Kids

CANADA:  In an election-style flyer mailed to her constituents, Vancouver South Conservative MP Wai Young claims Liberal leader Justin Trudeau is promoting marijuana to children.

The flyer also features a photo of a young person who is about to light a joint and says Liberal policies would make it easier for children to smoke pot.

In the flyer, the Conservative Party claims the Liberal policy of legalizing and deregulating marijuana will make it easier to access cannabis.

But the Liberal party policy on marijuana says it will take special steps to educate and promote awareness of the health risks of marijuana use among youth.

The Liberal Party says the flyer is riddled with misleading information.