All posts by Heather Fazio

A family’s hope: An Austin girl and the case for medical marijuana

Her parents say they had exhausted every medical option currently available. Then, in spring 2013, they tried cannabidiol, or CBD oil, the non-psychoactive element of marijuana.

A family’s hope: An Austin girl and the case for medical marijuana photo
Jane gives her 12-year-old daughter Christy one of six prescription medications needed to treat her epilepsy via a gastrostomy tube (g-tube). Christy has had epilepsy since she was 31/2 years old. After 20 different prescription drugs and surgery failed to relieve her symptoms, the family decided to try medical marijuana, which is illegal in Texas. The CBD oils were also given to Christy via her g-tube. The family says that they were the most effective medication to date. They ran out of their illegal supply in October 2013. (RESHMA KIRPALANI / AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

During the next six months, they saw an improvement in Christy. She had fewer seizures and improved cognitively. She was able to answer more questions, and her responses were quicker.

There weren’t the side effects of other drugs, her parents say. Yet this conservative family, whose relationship with God as Christ’s followers informs how they live their lives, worried about getting caught and what that would do to their other children — Alice, 21, Joe, 19, and Lex, 16 — and to Christy. (These are not the real names of the family members and their last name is not being used in this story because medical marijuana use is not legal in Texas.)

Their supply dried up, and they watched Christy slowly return to being less verbal and having more seizures.

A family’s hope: An Austin girl and the case for medical marijuana photo
“Sometimes, (I think) it would have been easy if she had been born already having seizures and never having developed for those three years that she saw how happy and joyful she was,” said Tony about his 12-year-old daughter Christy. (RESHMA KIRPALANI / AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

They and other parents like them want medical marijuana to be like any other drug a doctor prescribes. Now, they have found themselves as advocates for a hot-button issue, even though all they really want is to keep their daughter from withdrawing back into herself.

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For six months, Statesman videographer Reshma Kirpalani has followed this family’s decision to use medical marijuana to treat their daughter’s epilepsy. They tell their story on the agreement of anonymity.

The cannabis industry: Growing pains for now, but success will come

BIV-CannabisIndustry“Representatives of the Baker Institute Drug Policy Program, in partnership with the South Texas College of Law, went to the Marijuana Investment Conference [Oct. 5-6th in Houston Texas] to talk to industry insiders about how they envisioned the future of the cannabis industry. Several common themes emerged. All of the attendees we talked to were excited about the profit potential for the emerging industry and cited the additional tax revenue and economic development opportunities as the greatest economic benefits to legalization.

“Not surprisingly, they also also favored a free-market legalization model, as distinguished from full state regulation, which is to be implemented in Uruguay in 2015. (Under the Uruguay model, the government will regulate marijuana production, sale, and consumption. Growers, sellers, and consumers will have to register with the Uruguayan government.) However, even though there was strong support for the free market model, several attendees also stressed the importance of the industry’s not becoming dominated by corporations and large-scale production. They also favored high-quality product standards, organically certified cannabis, and stringent testing for mold, mildew and other contaminants.”

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Sanjay Gupta Says Medical Marijuana Should Be Legalized Federally

CNN Worldwide All-Star Party At TCAIn the past year, Sanjay Gupta has made no secret of his support for medical marijuana.

A desire for policy change has always been implicit in that support. But in an exclusive interview with The Huffington Post on Friday, CNN’s chief medical correspondent called for full-scale federal legalization of medical marijuana in no uncertain terms.

“In terms of making this legal for medicinal purposes — yes, and there are both very pragmatic reasons and more subjective reasons for that,” Gupta said.

He added that federal legalization of medical cannabis should happen if for no other reason than to address the “ridiculousness of the refugee situation” in Colorado.

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UT/TT Poll: Few Texans Would Keep Marijuana Illegal


Most Texans would support the legalization of marijuana for medical use, and close to a majority would support legalization for any use, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll.

Only 23 percent of Texas registered voters said marijuana should be illegal in all cases. Another 28 percent would legalize it for medical use only, and 49 percent would legalize marijuana for any purpose, either in small quantities (32 percent) or in any quantities (17 percent).

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