Criminal Laws Create Criminal Parents
Michael Lambert could hardly make it through five minutes of his lecture before he was speaking through strained tears, recounting the day he first discovered that his infant daughter Kaetlyn was being ravaged by a despicably heinous ailment known as Dravet Syndrome- a form of catastrophically rare epilepsy. 1 in 6 sufferers of Dravet Syndrome will die before they reach the age of 18.
Through the weeping came a tale that no parent should have to experience, much less relive time and time again; but he took to the stage of the Medical Marijuana Workshop that I attended over the weekend, with courage, as he had done hundreds of times before to relive the trauma of that day.
“We were getting dressed, getting ready to go out and she just started jerking,” he explains, “I thought she was violently burping at first, but I realized quickly that something else was happening. I looked at my wife and told her that we needed to get Kaetlyn to the hospital. When we got to the hospital the doctors were faced with a 7-month-old girl who was essentially being electrocuted by her own brain, plus her heart was beating at 233 beats per minute…so they were shitting themselves…” his voice breaks as he recalls how they had to drill holes in both of her legs to insert a chemical feed of melazepam and phenobarbital to stop the seizures.
“Just to give you an idea of what it’s like for us poor parents, here we had a beautifully healthy daughter and then at seven months old we had this very sick little girl.”
Lambert and his wife tried every pharmaceutically recommended ailment over the course of the next 18 months in a desperate bid to save their daughter’s life; some days Kaetlyn would suffer more than 1,000 potentially fatal seizures- that’s one every 15 seconds.
After failing to discover a medication capable of quelling her symptoms, having become frustrated with the inadequacy of treatments available, Lambert began importing hemp extract from overseas. Mixing the hemp extract with his own homegrown hash, the desperate father began administering the cannabis tincture daily to the then three-year-old Kaetlyn.
Kaetlyn Lambert has been treated with the outlaw remedy for the past two and a half years. In those two and half years she has exhibited phenomenal recovery from Dravets, with the CBD oil doing in days what a year-and-a-half of pharmacological experimentation could never achieve; the relieved father reporting an 87% decrease in emergency room hospital visits, with the real success story being that in the past year Kaetlyn has been completely seizure free.
Since treating his daughter with the cannabis extract and witnessing the stark turnaround that the organic medicine provided, Lambert has been a spokesperson for the herbs healing properties. His daughter’s recovery from Dravet Syndrome has inspired him onto a pilgrimage seeking to help end the prohibition on a medicine that, in some cases, is a child’s only hope for any semblance of normal life.
Michael’s self-less effort to crusade his daughter’s story as a flagship example for the validity of the medical efficacy of cannabis has simultaneously branded him a criminal for administering an unapproved drug to a child.
In Australia, where the Lambert Family reside, medicinal cannabis is currently legal nationwide, a change that took place in November of 2016, but that means that the Lamberts had been feeding their daughter an illegal drug for some time before these changes ever took place; as Lambert noted during his empowering lecture, even with the new legislation that makes medicinal marijuana legal it’s an illusory red-herring with no real benefit. Some citizens feel that the hoops and endless applications that need to be filed, conjoined with the melodramatic, legal rigmarole involved in getting a cannabis prescription, eventually actually exclude 99% of the patients that need it the most. The 1% that are lucky enough to get seen by one of the twenty-four authorised prescribers of medicinal cannabis in the country, (that’s roughly 1 authorised agent for every 1 million people), are unlikely to be able to afford the running costs of medicating with cannabis as the pharmaceutically branded option can boast a price tag of over 12,000 dollars a year.
The implication is a paramount issue that holds worldwide scope. In most countries on the planet marijuana is still the villainous, anti-medicine attached to heavy stigma and god-forbid that you were to ever encounter a situation that requires it, but parents like Michael Lambert are discovering every day that in order to save their child’s life they first have to become a criminal.
“The law should be protecting my interests. Is it in my interest to watch her die? Is it in my interest to give her untested medicine?” Lambert’s sentiments reflect the anger felt over the miscarriage of legal integrity with the enforcement of such statutes that have seen him charged with criminal offenses.
The false narrative dictated by the governments who uphold these standards of law and justice presents a satirical slap of offense to those seeking to medicate their suffering offspring with cannabis. Within the borders of places yet to legalize marijuana in any mode, how can a panel of well-educated men and women decide in their right mind that it is acceptable to use the poppy to manufacture drugs like Morphine, or to use the coca to manufacture drugs like Lignocaine, but you cannot use cannabis sativa to make CBD oil?
Why is it fair for Kaetlyn to be pumped with highly toxic, potentially fatal barbiturates and benzodiazepines, but treatment with a completely organic, non-lethal compound is a criminal act?
If you were to walk out of your house and see a grown man beating a child to death in the street, would you not rush to save the child’s life?
There can be no mistake: opposing medical marijuana by prohibiting or severely restricting its use is the same as condoning child abuse…it’s the same as letting the grown man beat on the child in the street and continuing about your day as if all is well with the world. Keeping a medicine from children who may otherwise die without it is the only criminal action taking place.
Michael Lamberts closing thoughts during the workshop best represent the resonant cry of the victimized countless who are being persecuted for administering life to their kids, “We believe it’s Kaetlyn’s human right not to suffer. We believe it’ not a crime to be sick and it’s not a crime to be well. We believe it’s not a crime to own a garden.”
But what do I know? I’m just a criminal sympathizer.
Gotta run for now,
James Monroe (as part of his series on Cannabis.Net called "Through The Eyes of A Stoner".)