Published February 27, 2014 10:06
Source Stop the Seizures Press Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Stop the Seizures calls on Maryland House to Expand Access
Annapolis, MD, Feb. 27– National parent advocate, Paige Figi, and medical marijuana pioneer, Joel Stanley, are coming to Maryland from Colorado to serve as panelists at a press conference and testify on behalf of Annapolis-based Stop the Seizures at the House Health & Government Operations Committee on Friday, February 28th. Stop the Seizures is calling for Maryland’s medical marijuana laws to be reformed to provide access to children, including those with life threatening disorders, such as epilepsy. The schedule of events includes:
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 28TH -- House of Delegates Building, 6 Bladen St, Annapolis, MD
- 12:00 PM/ROOM 406 – Press conference, panelists include: Maryland House Delegate Cheryl Glenn; Paige Figi; Joel Stanley; Stop the Seizures founder and Annapolis parent advocate, Gail Rand, as well as patients and other advocates.
- 12:30 PM/ROOM 240 -- Maryland House Health & Government Operations Committee Hearing; Testimony from the above listed panelists and a vote on HB 1321, the bill addressing the need to create an effective program that will provide cannabis to suffering patients.
BOTH MEETINGS ARE OPEN TO THE MEDIA AND THE PUBLIC.
The life of Figi’s daughter, Charlotte, was saved by the oil provided by Stanley. Prior to taking the oil, Charlotte suffered 300 grand mal seizures weekly and was struggling to survive. Charlotte, whose remarkable case has received international attention, is now thriving and her seizures have been reduced to two or three times per month. CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who was previously an open critic of medical marijuana, rescinded his opposition and came out in full support of the medicine in response to Charlotte’s improvement and a thorough review of the research, saying that it is, “irresponsible not to provide the best care we can as a medical community, care that could involve marijuana.”
Figi explains, “I am coming to Maryland to make clear that this oil undeniably saved my child’s life. The children of Maryland deserve this chance, too. In the past two months, I’ve watched two children who had uncontrolled seizures like Charlotte die before they ever got a chance to try the oil. My heart aches for these children, their families and all of the families frustrated by their inability to provide the best possible care for their little ones.”
Stanley adds, “We feel we have a moral obligation to put this [oil] in the hands of people who need it.”
In addition to Figi’s daughter, numerous children with epilepsy have the potential of benefitting from the medicine. According to a recent study in the Journal of Epilepsy and Behavior, medical marijuana causes seizure reductions in 85% of patients with catastrophic epilepsy, with over 50% of patients seeing reductions of 80% or greater.
Maryland health care providers, including Dr. McPherson, a Professor at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy in Baltimore, explain why medical marijuana could help Marylanders with epilepsy, as well as many other conditions. “The endocannabinoid system in our body affects virtually every organ system. We have good evidence demonstrating the benefits of cannabinoids (such as marijuana) in treating a variety of symptoms and diseases such as pain, spasticity, nausea, loss of appetite and others,” said Dr. McPherson, “We owe it to Maryland citizens to explore the potential benefit of cannabinoids in managing chronic diseases, including epilepsy.”
Over 60,000 Marylanders live with epilepsy, a neurological condition that includes recurring seizures, with more than 25,000 of them suffering from uncontrolled seizures, including Frederick resident Shannon Moore’s three-year-old twins. “We simply want to help our children. My children have been on increasingly powerful, dangerous and addictive anti-seizure medicines—medicines that can cause peripheral blindness, liver failure, and respiratory failure. The current laws are standing in the way of my sons gaining access to potentially life-saving medicine that has minimal to no side effects,” said Shannon Moore.
The local call for access to medical marijuana coincides with a growing national movement that advocates for its use to help epilepsy patients. The Epilepsy Foundation, a national non-profit with 47 affiliated organizations throughout the United States, issued a statement on February 20, 2014, calling for “appropriate changes to state laws to increase access to medical marijuana as a treatment option for epilepsy, including pediatric use as supported by a treating physician.”
Stop the Seizures also released the results of a survey containing over 1,250 (and counting) signatures advocating for the use of marijuana as a medical option for children. The release of the survey coincides with the hearing and highlights the need for the Maryland legislature to move quickly to enact laws that enable patients, particularly children, suffering from epilepsy to have access to medical marijuana.
“We want safe access for our kids and legal protection for caregivers who administer this medicine to our incredible children,” said Moore. “My kids need this treatment now and the strong support demonstrated by the number of people who have signed this petition show that many Marylanders agree.”
About Stop the Seizures
Stop The Seizures is a Maryland-based parent advocacy group exploring the use of marijuana as a medical option for children. The group is committed to advocating for safe and legal access to cannabis for children suffering from epilepsy and other disorders that may benefit from the passing of a medical cannabis policy that provides safe and legal access to children with the disease. For additional information, please visit www.stoptheseizures.org.
About Joel Stanley
Joel Stanley is the CEO and co-founder of Realm of Caring. The non-profit organization provides a better quality of life for people affected by epilepsy and many other debilitating conditions through the use of concentrated medicinal marijuana oil.
Gail Rand / StopTheSeizures@gmail.com