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Medical Marijuana Issued to Toddlers

(Missoula, MT) When you think of medical marijuana in Montana, you probably don't think of a child using it.

Allyson Weller introduces us to one of the state's youngest cardholders -- a 2 and a half year old child who battled brain cancer.

Of the states over 28-thousand medical cannabis card holders --- 51 of them are under the age of 18.

Tayln Lang with the Montana Medical Growers Association said, "When I see the number 51 and we're in a state of a million people that's a fraction of a percentage and even with the 28,000 people that are on the program, it's still a fraction not even 1 percent, so the number is really really small. That's one of the things that I think is one of the biggest misperception is that there's a ton of kids that are out there that have cards that are in high school and junior high and that are buying this medical cannabis and giving it to their friends and that's just simply not true."

The Medical Marijuana Act says in order for children to get a card, they have to follow specific guidelines.

It says they "shall issue a registry identification card to a minor if the custodial parent or legal guardian for the minor signs and submits a written statement that --- the minor's physician has explained the potential risks and benefits of the medical use of marijuana; --- the custodial parent or legal consents to the medical use of marijuana by the minor; --- agrees to serve as the minor's caregiver; and agrees to control the acquisition of marijuana and the dosage --- and frequency of the medical use of marijuana by the minor."

Lang said, "More often through the children who are under the age of 18 have very very serious medical conditions."

Meet Cash Hyde. He's a 2 and a half year old -- who has battled a brain tumor -- and won.

Cash is one of the states youngest medical cannabis patients.

Michael Hyde, Cash's dad, said, "I believe that you know Cashy's with us for a lot of reasons, one of them I would have to say is the power of prayer, one he's a walking miracle and the other one is he is a patient of medical cannabis, which has I think greatly benefited his battle."

Cash's parents were there every step through his battle -- and watched as drugs prescribed by his doctors -- made him hallucinate and stop his heart.

Hyde said, "I watched Cashy not be able to eat for over 40 days, live off nothing but fluid intravenously to the point where he couldn't lift his head up off his pillow, I realized along the way in this journey that there is a quality of life that a lot of people do not have, and it's because of the drugs that they're given."

Cash's dad Michael says medical cannabis helped rebuild his organs that were damaged from the chemo, helped with his appetite, and helped him sleep.

Hyde said, "When I asked doctors what do you think about medical cannabis none of them knew, no one had been looking, nobody had researched it."

With medical cannabis so new to many, some are worried of the affects it may have on young developing brains.

Brandee Tyree is a substance abuse prevention specialist who spends her days trying to keep kids away from marijuana.

Tyree said, "The THC will interfere with concentration, learning, problem solving, short term memory, all the things that kids need especially when they're in school and trying to learn. When you have a child that's high at school basically they're not learning so everything they've learned at school is then forgotten because they were high."

Tyree said, "Our coalition is designed to keep kids from using substances illegal or otherwise, alcohol obviously is illegal for kids but not for adults, we still don't want kids using it. Marijuana we take the same stance, it's a substance that's hurtful for the brain during development, we believe it's harmful for kids and in our opinion no we don't think kids should be using marijuana."

Lang said, "I would tell people before they make a decision on this to really do their research and check the facts out."

Hyde said, "If you or someone you know has battled cancer I don't have to tell you how devastating it is to watch chemo and cancer consume your loved one and when you can actually watch something that you're doing for them actually benefit them in a way that nobody else can do, you feel empowered you feel like you can make a difference."

Some Montana legislators want to repeal medical marijuana in Montana. State lawmakers are halfway to repealing Montana's medical marijuana law.

By a vote of 62-to-37, legislators voted to advance the bill out of the House to the Senate.

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House Speaker Mike Milburn says law enforcement can't control the sudden growth of the multi-million dollar industry and its rampant pro-liferation.

Representative Diane Sands of Missoula said Montanans expressed their support of medical marijuana after approving the initiative in 2004 by a margin of a 62 to 38 percent.

She said it's up to lawmakers to put the needed regulations in place.


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