- Associated Press - Saturday, March 1, 2014

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - In a story Feb. 28 about medical marijuana legislation in Maryland, The Associated Press incorrectly identified a child who died after his family considered moving from Maryland to Colorado as being named Logan. The child who died was named Gavin.

A corrected version of the story is below:

Advocates: Medical marijuana need urgent in Md.

Need for medical marijuana access is life-and-death matter, advocates tell Md. House committee


Associated Press

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Gail Rand’s 4-year-old son, Logan, has seizures that make him collapse like a marionette with its strings cut. It happens 10 to 20 times a day, Rand said.

His severe form of epilepsy hardly responds to any existing medications. The one drug that’s proven to help his condition substantially is a form of marijuana.

Rand testified before a House committee Friday alongside several other parents of seriously epileptic children. They tried to drive home the message that Maryland’s medical marijuana laws need urgent reform. For some children it could make the difference between life and death, they said.

“It’s unfathomable,” she said in an interview later.

The House Health and Governmental Operations Committee is considering bills from Dels. Cheryl Glenn and Dan Morhaim. The delegates plan to combine their bills into a single plan and create testing laboratories, treatment centers and licenses for five Maryland marijuana growers.

“I think it’s morally wrong if we don’t get this done now,” Morhaim told his colleagues Friday. “We know there’s a war on drugs. Let’s at least get the sick and the dying off the battlefield.”

The bills would also create a cardholder registration system to help patients 21 and older obtain the medication. Patients would need physicians’ notes to qualify, and they could obtain only 60 days’ worth at a time.

The bill is designed for people suffering from epilepsy, cancer, fibromyalgia and other conditions. Parents would need a special dispensation to get the drug for their children.

Last year the legislature passed a bill that allowed medical marijuana to be distributed only at academic medical centers. But since then, none of Maryland’s medical centers has created a distribution program.

Morhaim said his bill would make the state’s five growers the only licensed distributors as well, though these entrepreneurs could set up satellite offices.

Paige Figi, a Colorado resident, explained how medical marijuana helps her 7-year-old daughter, Charlotte.

Two years ago, Charlotte’s epilepsy was so severe, doctors gave her a month to live and put her on hospice care. But about that time she started taking a strain of marijuana bred on a Colorado farm. Now Charlotte walks, talks and eats again, and she no longer needs medications.

“This is actually an exit drug,” rather than a “gateway drug,” said. “We were able to remove all of her medicines.”

Charlotte ingests it as an oil instead of smoking it. Figi said its general efficacy rate is about 85 percent.

Another parent, Cheryl Meyer of Baltimore, told lawmakers her son Gavin died last year at age 2. She remembers stopping on the side of the road and giving him valium to relieve his seizures.

Before Gavin died, Meyer said her family even considered moving to Colorado to try giving Gavin medical marijuana. But they didn’t want to leave Maryland.

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