Medical marijuana users rally support to change laws they’re breaking

HANOVER, Pa. (WHTM) – As the state’s medical marijuana fight stalls in the statehouse, activists haven’t given up pushing for public support.

One of those demonstrating Saturday in York County was more recognizable than most: Chuck Homan was arrested on marijuana charges last year.

“I just don’t know what else to do,” he said Saturday.

He says he uses it to treat manic depression; last month, a York County judge said that’s okay and found him not guilty.

But it’s “not a real comfortable position to be in,” he said with a laugh. “I still live in fear.”

He hasn’t stopped using pot, which means he could be arrested again. But he still petitioned the streets of Hanover over the week, rallying support for medicinal cannabis.

“Seizures and stuff among these children,” he said, “concentrations of CBDs definitely stop their seizures.”

Cannabidiol, also called CBDs, is a non-psychoactive chemical in marijuana that’s been identified as one of the main medically-useful compounds.

Diana, 18, has intractable epilepsy. She’s had seizures since she was 9 days old. Her mom, Louann Speese, of Mechanicsburg, found out about pot as a possible way to control them.

They went to Colorado, and it worked; but she couldn’t get it here.

“So I went underground,” Speese said. “And I’ve been using medical cannabis on my daughter since 2013.”

The compounds are used in patches that look like adhesive bandages. Speese puts one on each of Diana’s ankles, changing them every 12 hours. One patch contains cannabidiol, the other THCA, another compound in cannabis.

She knows she’s breaking the law; she knows she might get caught. It happened once already.

Not too long ago, Diana had to go to the hospital. Doctors ran a urine analysis and detected the compounds. County and state officials showed up to ask a few questions.

With two other kids, Speese said she understands the risks.

“You want the best for your child no matter what,” she said. “And I just want to give my child some type of quality of life.”

A bill to legalize the compounds for some conditions has lingered in the House Rules Committee since June.

Some opponents in the medical community say the science just isn’t clear yet. Still others just aren’t comfortable giving chemicals found in currently-illegal drugs to children.

But some supporters say they just can’t wait. They argue it’s costing lives.

“I’m not about to keep quiet on something so unjust and wrong,” Homan said.

Originally published by ABC 27 News

Medical marijuana users rally support to change laws they’re breaking


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