Kids receive medical marijuana
Montana residents are expressing mixed feelings over children with medical conditions being allowed to use medical marijuana.
In Montana, there are more than 28,000 medical cannabis card holders, and 51 of them are under the age of 18.
"That's one of the things that I think is one of the biggest misperceptions is that there's a ton of kids that are out here 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," said Tayln Lang, director of Montana Medical Growers Association.
Children must follow certain guidelines to get medical marijuana. The minor's physician has to explain the potential risks and benefits of the medical use of marijuana; the custodial parent must consent to the use of medical marijuana; the custodial parent must agree to serve as the minor's caregiver; and the custodial parent must also control the acquisition, dosage and frequency of the use of marijuana by the minor.
"More often though, the children who are under the age of 18 have very, very, very serious medical conditions," Lang said.
Cash Hyde, 2, battled a brain tumor and won. Cash is one of the youngest medical cannabis patients in Montana.
"I believe that Cash is with us for a lot of reasons," said Michael Hyde, Cash's father. "You know, he is a patient of medical cannabis, which has I think greatly benefited his battle."
Cash's parents say they have watched as the drugs that were prescribed by doctors made Cash hallucinate and stopped his heart.
"I watched Cashy not be able to eat for over 40 days to the point where he couldn't lift his head up off his pillow," Hyde said. "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."
Some people are worried about the effect that medical marijuana may have on a young developing brain.
"The Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) will interfere with concentration, learning, problem-solving and short-term memory. All the things that kids need, especially when they're in school and trying to learn," said Brandee Tyree, an Underage Substance Abuse Prevention specialist. "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."
Hyde said he would advise people to do research on medical marijuana before they make a decision.
"If you or someone you know has battled cancer, I don't have to tell you how devastating it is to watch chemotherapy and cancer consume your loved one," Hyde said. "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."
Montana is considering a repeal of its medical marijuana law. To make that happen, a bill has to pass in the state house and move to the Senate.