Liz Minda says her 11-year-old daughter has been suffering from severe seizures since she was 4. After cycling through numerous pharmaceuticals - some of which rendered her daughter, Jadyn, no more lively than "a drooling rag doll" - Liz decided it was time to change course. Jadyen began taking cannabis oil two years ago and the response has been astounding.
"We know that Jadyn has done better. She goes to school. Cannabis has afforded her the opportunity to go to school and function," Liz told WPRI.
But, the school that young Jadyn attends will not allow her to have her medication on campus, and her parents have to be present to administer it to her.
"Right now, my husband and I have to be 15 minutes away from the school at all times," Liz said.
In a statement, the school's superintendent claimed that because of the continued federal restrictions on cannabis, school nurses can not administer the drug without jeopardizing their jobs.
"Because Coventry Public Schools accepts federal funds and is a drug-free workplace, Coventry Public Schools cannot house or allow employees (school nurse/teachers) to administer medical cannabis oil. This is a federal issue and not a state issue. Only with a change in the federal laws would we be able to assist Liz's daughter with her treatment."
This is despite the fact that medical marijuana is legal in Rhode Island and that the FDA has approved cannabis-based epilepsy medication.
State Representative Scott Slater has introduced a bill he hopes will help the Mindas. His bill follows the example of states like Colorado where legislation has been introduced that would allow school nurses to administer medical marijuana to young students.
"It would allow school nurses to administer cannabis oil to a child who is maybe on the verge of a seizure." Slater said. "It would prevent that, and maybe allow them to continue with their day."
Liz, a nurse herself, is urging others the the profession to do the right thing and fight for the ability for patients to get the medicine they need to live a normal life while at school:
"So, my advice to the nursing profession: don't forget why we go in to nursing. We go into nursing to help people."
Liz admits there will be a struggle ahead, but its one she needs to deal with.
"It's the best leap of faith I've ever taken, and it's given my daughter back to me in ways I can't tell you," she said. "To see her come back, to be able to ride a bike, to be able to tie her shoes. How do you put a price tag on that quality of life?"