Yet another family that cannot wait for lawmakers to catch up with medical treatment is relocating to another state to seek the medical treatment they need.
Alexis Bortell is nine years old and suffers from grand mal epileptic seizures. In an interview with KVUE Austin, Alexis’s father Dean Bartell said, “February 4, she had the worst seizure of her life. Paramedics had to come. She stopped breathing.”
That seizure brought on stroke-like symptoms, the severity of which has sent the family packing up their Austin home to relocate to a suburb of Denver, Colorado, where Alexis will begin receiving low-THC, cannabis-derived cannabidiol oil treatment for her seizures – a treatment that will not have the intoxicating effect commonly associated with cannabis, but one that will help to control her seizures and related symptoms.
The Bartells had planned on staying in Texas through the legislative session in May, but this latest epileptic episode has them moving immediately.
Texas State Representative Stephanie Klick (R-Fort Worth) and State Senator Kevin Eltife (R-Tyler) have introduced joint medical marijuana bills, called the “Texas Compassionate Use Act,” to Texas lawmakers. But they face a tough road ahead selling it to their colleagues, especially since Governor Abbott and Lieutenant Governor Patrick both oppose medical marijuana, despite the fact that the bills proposed call for non-intoxicating cannabis derivatives much like what Alexis will receive in Colorado – making it, in effect, akin to any other prescription pharmaceutical, but with a greater established efficacy for specific kinds of pain and symptom management than anything else on the market.
Regardless of the future of those two cannabidiol-only medicinal marijuana bills, Dean Bartell said in a statement that, even if passed, they could be forced to wait as long as 2018 for the first medical dispensary to be licensed, and they simply do not have that long given the severity of Alexis’s condition and the likelihood of immediate relief that the cannabis oil offers. Additionally, the proposed bills are still so restrictive in nature – requiring that there be absolutely no treatment alternatives available (meaning that they would possibly be forced to consider brain surgery before cannabis) and capping the THC percentage at a dose so low it was recommended by Alexis’s Colorado doctors as merely a starting point – that even holding out hope for these bills to pass could still ultimately lead to disappointment and a necessary move across state lines.