For children who rely on medical marijuana, using their medicine at school remains a huge challenge in many US states. But one New Mexico mother is fighting to make access to medicinal cannabis easier for children in her home state.
Lindsay Sledge and her five-year-old daughter Paloma have been through a lot in the past few years. The young girl suffers from a rare form of epilepsy called Dravet syndrome, which can cause frequent, long-lasting and potentially fatal seizures. When the traditional medications stopped working for Paloma, her family turned to medical marijuana. Sledge has called the effects the cannabis oil Paloma now takes as "miraculous and breath taking," especially when compared to the other medicines.
"We were having to call 911 almost every month because the Valium was no longer working, or she needed such a high dose that she would stop breathing," Sledge told Daily Local News.
But getting medical marijuana for Paloma came with some tradeoffs for Sledge and her family. They had to move from Utah to New Mexico just so they could have access to the drug. But now that Paloma has started school, new challenges have arisen. Under New Mexico law medical marijuana is not allowed on school campuses, meaning parents have to take their children offsite to administer their medication or choose to home school. But these concessions are having a big impact on Paloma's life.
"She's never really gotten to feel like a normal child and school's part of that for her. That she can go be with her peers and feel like she's normal."
Sledge is hoping things will change soon thanks to a new bill that has been introduced to the state legislature. If passed, the bill would allow children with a registered medical marijuana card to have their medication administered their medication by the school nurse. The new law would see New Mexico follow in the footsteps of states like Colorado and Illinois, which have previously implemented regulations allowing kids to take their medical marijuana to school.