May 21st, 2015 – There’s a growing movement around the planet – have you noticed it? Cannabis legalization – both hemp and marijuana – is sweeping the planet. From India to Ireland to Jamaica, across America and now Brazil, the global war on cannabis is crumbling. And you just may have your mom to thank for it.
Every major news publication seems to covering the cannabis legalization movement. Daily news headlines pronounce the billions of dollars to be made in this “Green Rush” as the former illegal cannabis trade, estimated at $45-50 Billion in America alone annually, transitions into a legal business. Dr. Sanjay Gupta at CNN famously produced the “Weed” documentary series where he admitted he was grossly misled on the science and now believes marijuana has true medicinal value. Recently Time Magazine and the National Geographic ran cover stories on the “New Science of Marijuana”
Then there are our politicians – local, state, senators and congressmen falling all over themselves, proposing legislation to legalize hemp, cannabidiol and marijuana. And the market demand for cannabis is exploding. There’s cannabis for pets, former military personnel want it to treat PTSD, cannabis for children with epilepsy and it’s being prescribed for dozens of other conditions ranging from alzheimer’s to cancer. Cannabis research is skyrocketing too.
So why, all of a sudden, this recent rush to right a wrong dating all the way back to the Marijuana Act of 1937? If you dig a little deeper, beyond the media hype, the political posturing, beyond the entrepreneurs and the promise of vast fortunes to be made, you will find what we believe is the very heart of the global cannabis legalization movement: moms of children with epilepsy who have discovered that cannabis works where pharmaceuticals do not.
Meet Paige Figi:
The “mom’s movement to legalize cannabis” can be said to have unofficially kicked off in August, 2013 when CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta introduced us to the story of Paige Figi and her 6 year old daughter Charlotte, who was at the time suffering over 300 grand mal seizures a week, the result of Dravet’s Syndrome, a catastrophic form of Epilepsy. Charlotte’s parents spent years listening to their doctors and following traditional medical approaches, trying to no avail to find relief for their daughter until one day they saw a video of a California boy who found dramatic relief from his epilepsy in medical marijuana.
Concerned about using a federally illegal substance but desperate to help their daughter, they located a strain of cannabis very low in THC, and high in Cannabidiol (CBD). Charlotte went from hundreds of seizures, living on a feeding tube and suffering the debilitating effects of multiple harmful pharmaceuticals to living a relatively normal life, pharmaceutical free. Today, Charlotte, is thriving. Her seizures only happen two to three times per month, almost solely in her sleep. While Charlottes story is truly remarkable, we believe it marks the tipping point of the contemporary cannabis legalization movement. Charlotte’s mother Paige Figi has taken up the cause to educate and advocate on behalf of cannabis medicine for children.
What started as a journey to find healing for her daughter has now become a life mission. Today, Paige is Cofounder and spokesperson for the nonprofit, Realm of Caring Foundation, formed in 2013, “to provide a better quality of life for those affected by disorders and diseases, including but not limited to, Cancer, MS, HIV/AIDS, Epilepsy, Parkinson’s, through the use of concentrated cannabinoid extracts”
Paige travels the country educating and advocating for cannabis. Paige is also Founder and Executive Director of the advocacy organization, Coalition for Access Now whose mission is to educate lawmakers and the public about the benefits of therapeutic hemp oil, which is derived from the cannabis plant and has been used to treat thousands of children with uncontrolled epilepsy.
Recently, Ms. Figi helped spearhead new a national campaign supporting the enactment of H.R 1635, a bill to legalize certain strains of cannabis oil that have shown therapeutic benefits. Supported by Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.), and named the Charlotte’s Web Medical Access Act, in honor of her daughter Charlotte, the measure would remove similar types of medical cannabis from the federal list of Schedule I substances, which the federal government considers to have no medicinal value. (Currently, all forms of marijuana are illegal under federal law.)
“We’re not trying to do something fringe here,” said Charlotte’s mother, Paige Figi. “This is a human rights issue. This has been lifesaving for my daughter.”
Dallas Mom Helps Reverse Brazil’s Cannabis Prohibition:
Another recent story of moms influencing the cannabis movement has an international connection. Cannabis has been illegal in Brazil – regardless of whether the origin is from marijuana or hemp. That all changed last week thanks to two mothers, one in the United States and one in Brazil who made history after fighting to have a hemp-based cannabidiol (CBD) product allowed for import in the country. The product, called RSHO™ is produced by HempMeds in the United States.
Penny Howard, a Dallas mom had been successfully treating her daughter Harper with the product and was sharing her experiences on her blog. Brazilian mother Katiele Bortoli learned of Harper’s success and wanted to try the product with her own daughter. With the help of the Howards, Katiele Bortoli began importing the RSHO™ product, however the Brazillian government seized the imports and charged Bortoli, who fought the government in court and won approval for the importation of RSHO™ for approved medical conditions within Brazil including epilepsy (CDKL5 and Dravet Syndrome).
Brazilian mother Katiele Bortoli fights and wins
The push to legalize medical cannabis for kids is sweeping the nation. To date 15 states have legalized Cannabidiol because of moms like Paige Figi and Penny Howard, with many more states considering similar legislation. Cannabis for kids is a defining issue for the legalization movement – and moms are leading the charge.