Bill Smith, the teenage medical marijuana patient whose quest for an education The Colorado Independent has chronicled over the past month, made the TV news again last night in Colorado Springs.
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The television story breaks no new ground for regular readers of this site, but we spoke to the boy Wednesday evening, and he reiterated that he just wants to get an education and have the same access to his medicine that other students have to theirs.
Smith (not his real name) has a rare disorder that causes seizures, which if untreated can go on for days at a time. He controls the seizures by sucking on THC lozenges, which state says cannot be possessed or consumed on the grounds of a school.
Because of that law and the school district’s enforcement of it, Smith has to walk home from school when an attack begins and take his medicine before he can go back to school.
“What if one of their (legislators) family members was going through this? Everything would change then,” he said. “It is so frustrating.”
He says he understands that lawmakers think people abuse medical marijuana, but notes that people also abuse valium and other prescription drugs which are legal on school property.
Smith also worries about legislation that may ban edible marijuana products in Colorado, or may ban edible marijuana products if they are manufactured out of state.
He’s concerned that he and other patients wouldn’t be able to get their medication if that happened.
He says concerns that edible products or THC-infused soda pops could be attractive to children are misguided.
“Are they going to ban cherry-flavored Tylenol? Kids die from that when they think it is candy and drink too much. Nobody is going to die from a marijuana lozenge or drink. I don’t want to smoke it and neither do lots of other patients. If the best way for someone to take it is in a drink, why outlaw that?” he asks.
One of the reasons he likes the lozenges is that they come in really low dosages and he can spit them out when his seizure starts to go away, further limiting his consumption of the drug.
“If they outlaw lozenges, I don’t know what I will do. I may not be able to go to school at all because I would have to take a pill or something with a higher dosage and it would affect me more than a lozenge.”
He says if Legislators don’t want him in school, they should tell him that. “They should tell me to my face that I can’t have the medicine that helps me, because they disagree with it.
“I will keep pushing until everything changes. I’m not going to back off,” he said. “I just want to be a normal person. I don’t want to be discriminated against because of my disease. All they (legislators) think about is the people who abuse. They don’t think about the actual patients who need the medicine,” he said.