Whenever a medical marijuana bill is passed in a state, it is a time for celebration; it means that some people in the future will find relief for some of their ailments. They’ll have a choice in what kind of medicine they use and won’t be forced to rely exclusively on dangerous, addictive and ineffective pills.
But passage of a medical cannabis bill also means that there are many patients who will never benefit from it because they were unfortunate enough to suffer under prohibition. For these patients it is too little, too late.
A medical marijuana bill recently went into effect in the state of Ohio; medical cannabis is technically legal but the regulations that will govern an actual system of legal supply are still many months away. The Columbus Dispatch recently highlighted the story of Ronnie Frame and his adoptive father, Steve Carr.
Ronnie was a sufferer of Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, which is a rare and severe type of epilepsy that he had been tormented by since childhood. Steve Carr, who got sole custody of Ronnie when Ronnie’s mother died, became his permanent legal guardian when Ronnie turned 18. He searched in vain for many years for anything that would help his son, whose seizures got worse as he grew older.
“He suffered so much. When you see someone you love suffering, you will do anything,” Carr said. “I knew we were running out of time.”
Ronnie died just 17 days after medical marijuana became legal in Ohio, at the age of 42. A new drug called Epidiolex has shown promise in studies when it came to Ronnie’s form of epilepsy. It is made by extracting certain cannabinoids from marijuana; maybe not as good as whole plant cannabis, but something that could have helped people like Ronnie. Maybe it will, someday.
Maybe medical marijuana will be able to help a lot of people someday. Maybe it will get a chance to help tens of millions of people who live in states that have either restrictive medical marijuana programs or no program at all.
Until then, many suffer. All because a plant that humans had used for thousands of years was deemed to be dangerous by government officials in the United States and was banned, ushering in decades of dark times for all the people who could have benefitted from it.
The dark skies are clearing, but for many it’s sadly just too late.