MARIJUANA MOMS: Iowans Fighting For Their Kids

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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.


  • Troy Hendrickson

    According to the CDC, alcohol abuse costs Iowa $2 billion a year, while revenue from alcohol sales brings only $125 nillion to the state coffers.

    The primary cost of cannabis use/and or abuse in Iowa is the cost of prosecution, in other words, legalize it and instead of spending millions prosecuting people for using it, they could bringing $1.25 to $3 million a month like Colorado and using that to offset the cost of alcohol abuse.

    • steven

      I just moved to this state and I think it would be beneficial to get these laws passed. Can anyone tell me the next voting day so I can help vote out these hindering lawmakers.

  • Rick Gaffey

    My heart goes out to these mothers and the thousands of other Iowans that could benefit from this medicinal plant. How unfortunate that so many of our legislators and state officials would rather throw you in a prison cell for this. It’s time to “weed” out the naysayers next vote!

  • Penny Zielstorf

    Its about time they wake up and see the medical benefit this plant has. Without any of the harsh side effects of a over the counter medication. If Iowa won’t step up and help the children its time to move to CO. Iowa’s loss….

  • Norman Gooding

    What pert of 85% of the voters support marijuana use UNDER a doctor’s care,,not a politicians care or a Sheriffs care or some bureaucrat ‘s care,,When 85% of this countries voters say yes it doesn’t matter what politicians,bureaucrats and Presidents think of marijuana as a medicine,,see you in the voting booths.

  • Ray Lakers

    Children with cancer need THC it is a very important part of their cannabinoid treatments… by leaving THC forbidden in these CBD-only states you are depriving thousands of children and parents the right to treat their children with medical cannabis.

  • John Dean Heidenreich

    Good. It should be legalized period but the gov will never do that because they and the big banks, such as WELLS FARGO are making too much money with it being illegal. Then if you’re caught with it you spend time in prison (private for profit private prisons in some states) and you work for slave wages.

  • Coffee Pot

    I would think that no one has a problem if it was for medical purposes. The problem is, all of a sudden everybody has something it will cure. Then I look at a guy that won’t work, mouches off everybody, gets food stamps etc etc etc. And I’m sure he has some kind of symptom or can come up with one, that we’d all have to pay for his pot too.

  • JPenny

    Today there is no doubt about the value of medical marijuana. Sadly, our Governor doesn’t see it and has stated that it will never be legalized in Iowa while he is in office. I am left wondering if he would feel the same if one of his grandchildren was effected with something that Marijuana would relieve. When it comes election time, I for one am going to “just say NO” to Terry’s re-election bid.

  • booboo kitA

    I have emailed Gov Braindead of Iowa about this issue a few times recently and his “handler” informed me that Braindead is totally against any part of decriminalizing for any reason. He is 100% out of touch and should be voted out of office. He’s part of the good’ol boy group and needs to be replaced immediately.

  • Carl Olsen

    The Iowa Department of Public Health told the Iowa Legislature in 2010 that marijuana is medicine. The law requires the Iowa Department of Public Health to review the classification of controlled substances and notify the legislators if any substance is classified incorrectly. The Iowa Department of Public Health is part of the executive branch of Iowa government and the head of that branch is the Governor of Iowa. So, it is unconstitutional for the Governor to oppose his own executive branch which is carrying out the orders of the legislative branch. It’s also a violation of trust for the legislature to ignore the advice of the Iowa Department of Public Health, since the legislature created the duty for the Iowa Department of Public Health to make this recommendation that marijuana is medicine. We should vote Branstad out of office at the earliest opportunity for opposing his own administration (the Iowa Department of Public Health). And legislators that have no respect for this law should go with him.

  • Dawn W.

    I definitely think it should be legalized for medical use. But if I had a child it could help, I don’t think I’d wait around in Iowa for that to happen. I’d move to where I could get the help right away.

  • Immortal Illumined

    the greatest plant in the universe is almost free, LET FREEDOM RING!!!13

    from 0 states to half the country, from low 20% approval to almost 70%, cali runs this planet by 2 decades, time to tie marijuana to the 2014, and 2016 elections

    20 years behind us southern states, sad and scary….nobody denies freedoms like the south, nobody…even if marijuana reforms did pass the republiCANTS in charge would deny you all your freedoms, centuries of practice…no matter though, we never planned on getting your backwards brethren from day one, half the country already but not one southern state, lol…

    love and freedom forever


  • william Denison

    Iowa State lawmakers are racist simpletons driven by the accult and greed. They have been well aware of this issue for years but keep turning thier backs on childern, veterans, the sick and dying. I’m ashamed to have served in this nations millitary knowing I was serving these people as well.You all make me sick. As for our spinless bully leader Terry Braindead I hope you sleep well. You should be charged with child indangerment and elderly abuse . When ya goin to have your next photo op with your brother rebublincan Chris Christie loser?lol

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