CANNABIS CULTURE –In 2020, cannabis will still be considered a Schedule I drug in America despite local legalization in over half of all U.S. states. The federal government still prohibits its medical use due to their firm stance on cannabis: the plant and its properties contain no medical benefit, and worse, is prone to abuse. And despite state level legalization, medical marijuana is still federally illegal to transport across state lines and labels patients that do so federal offenders.
Despite this, the majority of Americans support medical cannabis. But even in states where it is legal, parents treating their children with cannabis for pediatric conditions run the risk of getting into trouble with Child Protective Services.
For Texan Mark Zartler, this risk is all too real. His daughter was born with cerebral palsy, and by kindergarten had received an autism diagnosis. She began violently striking herself in the face, sometimes for half the day. When her parents’ physicians recommended antipsychotics, they complied and noticed poor results and unmanageable side effects. Frustrated, they followed did their research and opted for medical cannabis, and the results changed everything for them in two ways. First, it provided their daughter nearly instant relief. Second, it made the Zartlers federal outlaws, risking ten to life in federal prison and the loss of custody of their daughter.
And with the 2020 presidential election on the horizon, federal decriminalization has been the subject of much debate, with both Democrats and Republicans promising leniency towards medical cannabis patients.
Weediatrics: A covert Medical Mission, is an upcoming documentary produced by Open Water Studios that follows your typical American family as they travel across state lines to obtain medical cannabis to help their gravely ill children. As politicians stall, brave families do what it takes to save their children’s lives. Now, they’re showing their faces in hopes of ending federal prohibition of cannabis once and for all.
“We didn’t set out to make a pro-marijuana movie. In a time when the country at large feels that there is so much progress being made in the legalization of marijuana, this film reveals the painful truth,” the film’s director John Ehrhard says.
The documentary features the professional opinion of medical providers and families and explains the various uses of medical cannabis for a variety of life-threatening conditions. When conventional drugs fail, and therapies are limited in their effectiveness, parents turn to cannabis compounds, predominantly CBD, to treat their children.
But families still experience difficulty in obtaining medical cannabis. One California family using CBD to treat their 7-year-old’s seizures, for instance, was charged with severe medical neglect.
“The fact that the federal government is making us choose between breaking the law to help our children or watching them suffer is absurd,” cannabis educator Dr. Richard Temple says in the documentary.
He explains that cannabis is an excellent medication because it relies on natural chemicals present in your body. “You have an entire endocannabinoid system,” he says. “You are a walking Schedule I narcotic right now. The difference is yours are made within your body. Marijuana and cannabis work because they simply enhance you own body’s system.”
But parents who use medical cannabis to help their children are caught in a broken healthcare system, the fog of stigma, and a web of backwards legislation. While cocaine and opioids remain Schedule II substances open to research, cannabis remains Schedule I, which means the federal government has made the determination that it has no medical benefits and therefore cannot be researched.
“We’re not smugglers. We’re just moms who are getting medicine for our kids who are really struggling,” said one mother in the documentary.
And while each family highlighted in the documentary is unique, the common obstacles they face remain the same: their sick and often disabled children have been failed by traditional medicine. These parents have found that medical cannabis works for their children, and now they are forced to make a decision no parent ever should—help their sick children and risk being arrested and reported to child protective services or sit and watch them suffer.
“The war on drugs made doctors very afraid of cannabis. The fact that children in America might need cannabis for autism—same as with epilepsy—and the federal government restrains the doctors from giving them something that is helpful is what is known as a medical crime,” said Psychiatrist Alan Flashman in the documentary.
Set to screen its world premiere later this year, Weediatrics: A covert Medical Mission will tell the story of those families in the United States who are willing to risk it all to help their children.
Watch the new movie trailer, click here!
Weediatrics will be running in the Webb Theatre at the Greenbay Film Festival, which is located at 315 Third St, De Pere, WI 54115. The screening will take place on March 7, 2020 at 10:00am.