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Parents Fight for Edible Medical Marijuana for Their Children

Forced to illegally create marijuana oil for their kids at home, several New Jersey families are trying to push Gov. Chris Christie on the issue.

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By Bryan Le

02/11/14

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Because her 14-year-old daughter cannot smoke pot, Tina DeSilvo dissolves marijuana buds in 180-proof alcohol and makes it into an edible oil that she mixes into her daughter's yogurt or applesauce. "Don't I sound like the mother of the year?" DeSilvio asked jokingly. What she's doing is far from recreational - her daughter, Jenna, suffers from a rare brain disorder that causes frequent, sometimes violent convulsions, and the New jersey mom is using cannabis oil to keep the disorder in check.

DeSilvio is one of many New Jersey parents who now treat their children with medical marijuana. “The seizures are awful,” explains Peggy Kerswell, a mother of a 9-year-old who suffers from autism and epilepsy. “And when you put a child with epilepsy to bed and open the door the next day, you never know what you're going to face. That's why I feel comfortable pushing the envelope and trying to help her.”

While parents like DeSilvio and Kerswell have managed to pressure New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to lift the ban on medical marijuana edibles and allow children to consume it medically, Christie has vowed to veto any other bills that would “expand the program.” Unfortunately for DeSilvio and parents like her, the current program excludes marijuana oil, and parents are strongly discouraged from making it at home as it can be difficult to measure the dose.

But both the parents and the dispensaries are fighting to once again push Christie in the right direction. “He sees us as these hippies who just want peace, love, and happiness,” DeSilvio says. “But I'm just a mom who's desperate.”

Watch a short documentary on kids who need medical marijuana:

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