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A Nurses Perspective: Cannabis Pediatric Refugees and the Reality in Colorado By: Jennie Stormes, RN, BSN, MSN Student

You have a disabled child? A sickly child with cancer or Crohn’s? A child with autism or seizures? Something that cannabis is known to treat, then the advice most parents receive from the general community is “Go to Colorado, they have marijuana and it will cure your kid.� Not many are willing to stay and help fight for change within those states for many reasons. If they do stay for a bit to change the laws, the parent and the child become targets of the state and child protective services. For many of these kids, they do not have the time to wait for changes within their own state. Then there is the reality of moving to another state. It is an emotional situation with many decisions and implications. Moving is not easy for anyone, especially someone who is disabled. The cost can be $10,000 or more for a family, for a cross-county move. The services and medical supplies, the support system, and education services to be re-established. The cost of living in Colorado is not cheap and housing can be scarce in the more populated areas, which are closest to the medical care, educational, and social services. Jobs are available, but not for disabled or those who cannot pass a mandatory drug test, which includes the very medication needed to address the illness and symptoms they are trying to relieve.


July/August 2017


Cannabis is recreationally available for those over 21. For the medical program, a minor (under 18) requires a recommendation of two physicians with qualifying conditions. Adults only require one physician to recommend cannabis as a treatment. In Colorado, the qualifying conditions are limited with only selected disorders: cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, cachexia, persistent muscle spasms, seizures, severe pain, severe nausea, and just signed into law, PTSD (CDPHE, n.d.; Wallace, 2017). Children with autism, without another diagnosis or qualifying condition, may not be eligible under Colorado laws for cannabis use. This is the situation for many children who suffer from a disorder which cannabis is known to help, but do not have a qualifying condition in the state, they are excluded from the medical marijuana program. These parents are forced to administer secretly and are afforded no protection as a child who is allowed to possess a recommended physician approval and card from the state. As an adult, they would simply access the much needed cannabis through the recreational market, even though their use is medical. This will incur higher taxes and higher costs with less access to all forms of medical products afforded the medical patient. Additionally, they have different limits on amounts to purchase and carry than a medical patient in the same state. Establishing residency, medical care, finding a medical waiver (if eligible) and educational services in a safe neighborhood is stressful. New state residency comes with new rules, new taxes, and new realities. In Colorado, there is also the altitude, which can impact the existing health condition, especially those with breathing issues and oxygen needs. ome of the new realities are, not everyone in Colorado is accepting of cannabis as a medication. If you call the doctor to establish care, they do not take cannabis patients or Medicaid patients. Although there is an established

July kids done July/August 2017  
July kids done July/August 2017  

This issue asks “What about the kids?” Cannabis Nurses Magazine is here to tell you about the kids. As controversial this topic is, it is n...