Families of epilepsy patients lose fight to get access to medical marijuana

Seven-year-old Jayden David suffers from a rare form of epilepsy, and his father Jason David claims medical marijuana is the one treatment that has dramatically reduced Jayden's seizures and improved his life. But getting the specific type of medical marijuana Jayden needs is becoming increasingly difficult.

Modesto city leaders heard from a group of citizens Wednesday, many of them parents of children with epilepsy, hoping to bring to Modesto a facility that would provide safe access to medicine derived from marijuana.

The medicine is called Cannabidiol or CBD. David drew national attention when he started giving Jayden, who suffers from an extreme form of epilepsy, a form of medical marijuana high in CBD and very low in THC.

"Now, he's at school from 8 'til 2:30, and he can play all over the playground," David said. "He's not in a wheelchair anymore. He's functioning."

But the medicine has been very difficult for David, and other parents of children in need of CBD, to find.

"CBD is going to be labeled as one of the greatest findings of mankind. It's going to change the medical industry, and now we have a chance here in Modesto to be in the forefront of something huge," David said at the meeting.

David and others want city leaders to bring to Modesto a research facility that would safely grow medical marijuana and extract the compound. The idea drew widespread support from epilepsy patients and their families, and at least one council member.

"I think there's a great need, and I think this is a golden opportunity for Stanislaus County," Councilmember John Gunderson said.

But Modesto Police Chief Galen Carroll raised concerns about the ability to monitor such a facility.

"Until you get someone that's going to regulate that, it's not a local issue," Carroll said.

In the end, a motion to reach out to county and state leaders to further explore the idea failed to even get a second. With no immediate next step planned to come from city leaders, supporters vowed to seek public support, hoping to change the minds of elected officials.


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