The New Jersey family whose plight inspired changes to the state’s medical marijuana law are moving to Colorado because they still can’t get the medicine their young daughter badly needs.
Brian and Meghan Wilson told The Philadelphia Inquirer they’re leaving Scotch Plains, N.J., for Colorado so their 2-year-old daughter, Vivian, can get the edible cannabis that could treat her severe epilepsy.
She’s already approved to use medical marijuana in New Jersey. In fact, it was her story, and her parents’ relentless lobbying – once cornering Gov. Chris Christie at a fundraiser – that convinced the governor to allow MMJ for minors. But even with a card allowing her to use, Vivian couldn’t get the medicine that works for her condition.
Over the last year, a growing movement has taken shape of parents whose children suffer from severe seizure disorders. Many of these parents have found that a particular strain of marijuana, usually delivered in a liquid or edible form, can greatly reduce seizures and improve quality of life for their children, sometimes dramatically.
But the strain is hard to find. A group of civic minded cultivators in Colorado all but gives it away to children who need it, and a small charity network has sprung up around the families, many of whom have moved to the state in recent months.
The problem for the Wilsons is that New Jersey is perpetually behind the ball on medical cannabis. Once Vivian had her card, they were stymied because the state only had one working dispensary, and it was constantly out of supply.
When another dispensary opened, they still couldn’t get edibles. Converting dried plant was too difficult, and there was no way to test the end product for dosage.
“Charlotte’s Web,” as the strain of marijuana is known, is high in a chemical known as CBD and very low in THC, the chemical that gets users high. It’s named after Charlotte Figi, a Colorado toddler with Dravet syndrome, a severe form of epilepsy, and it’s often ideal for children with these conditions.
With no way to get it in the form they needed, the Wilsons continued to lobby for changes to the MMJ law. They made some headway, but it was never enough to secure a stable supply of Vivian’s medicine. In the meantime, her condition continued to decline, leaving the family desperate for options.
They considered joining the exodus to Colorado, but they wanted to give the New Jersey system time to work, and they didn’t have enough money.
Then they got the Christmas news that made the move possible: Magicalbutter.com, a Washington company that sells cannabutter-making machines, and Lisa and Drew Braun, friends of the CEO, offered a total of $10,000 to bring the family cross-country.
“It was a Christmas gift beyond our wildest dreams,” Meghan Wilson said in an email to The Inquirer. “We thought a friend wanted to deliver Christmas cookies.”