Some think it’s controversial, others say it’s a miracle cure.
Legalizing medicinal marijuana is on the agenda this legislative session but getting it passed will be an uphill battle.
However, for a group of Iowa families legalizing the drug could be their last hope to help their suffering children.
All parents want the best for their kids. Maria La France is fighting for a cure for hers.
“When you watch your child have a seizure it`s the most helpless feeling in the world,” says La France of Des Moines.
Quincy, now 12, started having seizures at just five months old.
Regular pharmaceuticals either didn’t work or increased his symptoms.
“Within four doses of that drug he stopped walking and talking, so pharmaceutical drugs aren’t always the answer either,” says La France.
La France is convinced answer lies in a form of cannabis oil.
“It`s complete torture to know there is something out there that can heal his brain, that`s an anti-inflammatory, an anti-spasmodic, that`s completely natural, I want to get my hands on it,” says La France.
And she isn’t alone, 24-year-old Margaret Gaer has lived with seizures for two decades.
Only recently was she was diagnosed with Dravet Syndrome, a rare and heartbreaking form of epilepsy.
“It`s pretty devastating,” says Sally Gaer of West Des Moines.
Gaer, Margaret’s mom and wife of West Des Moines’ Mayor, wishes marijuana was an option.
“I think some form of medical marijuana will be able to help her,” says Gaer.
Gaer’s becoming more optimistic as a growing number of people focus on marijuana’s potential to help instead of its potential for abuse.
“We`re looking for medicine. We`re not looking for any kind of recreational use, we`re looking for help to make our loved ones lives better and our lives better,” says Gaer.
That same search for help led the Selmeski’s from Iowa to Colorado.
“As a parent of a special needs child, a child that`s told they probably won`t live very long, you`re going to do everything and anything you can for your child and I think any parent that can resonate with,” says Rachel Selmeski from Colorado Springs.
Maggie’s seizures started at 6 weeks old, occurring up to 500 times per day.
“We look at every day of her life as a tremendous blessing, we look at every inch stone that she does as a tremendous blessing,” says Selmeski.
Three months ago, Maggie started taking Charlotte’s Web.
It’s a low dose of cannabis oil that’s high in a medicinal component called CBD.
“She just is waking up and becoming more alert and aware and we`re seeing more improvements,” says Selmeski.
And that’s after just three months of use.
“We`re going to be able to meet our daughter soon, she`s going to be able to be fully awakened and we`re going to get to know who little Maggie is,” says Selmeski.
Maggie’s seizures have dropped by 30 percent, a success the Selmeski’s hope other mothers will get to enjoy.
“It`s not fair that children and parents in other states have the opportunity to try this medicine and good hard-working Iowans do not have this opportunity,” says La France.
The Iowa Office of Drug Control Policy has contacted the FDA asking for additional research into medical marijuana.
Two marijuana bills are also pending at the State House. One would reclassify marijuana as a schedule two drug, allowing for medical use. The second would create a medical marijuana program in Iowa.