Recent promising results from clinical trials in the use of medical marijuana to treat intractable epilepsy haven’t stopped the local law enforcement in California to raid on those who are lawfully cultivating the plant. In the past two months police has destroyed two medical marijuana gardens in Mendocino County and Modesto that were cultivating a rare strain of medical cannabis rich in cannabidiol (CBD) and intended to be used by children, many of whom do not respond to other drug treatments.
Armed men dropping out of helicopters
On August 5th, unidentified men wearing camouflage uniforms dropped from an unmarked helicopter onto the property of Susan Schindler, a cancer survivor. The men have refused to identify themselves and they cut down her (lawfully cultivated) medical marijuana plants. Schindler was growing for herself and was also cultivating rare strains of medical marijuana rich in CBD, a non-psychoactive component of the plant, which were being used by children with epilepsy. After decades in which only THC marijuana was available, CBD-rich strains are now being grown by and for medical users. Scientific studies underscore CBD’s potential as a treatment for many conditions, including chronic pain, diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease, alcoholism, PTSD, schizophrenia, antibiotic-resistant infections, rheumatoid arthritis, MS, epilepsy, and other neurological disorders.
On a Mission to Eradicate Marijuana?
It is suspected that the County of Mendocino Marijuana Eradication Taskforce (COMMET) is responsible for this mysterious action, however, county officials have not admitted to it. “There was no paperwork, no copies of any warrants they didn’t leave any inventory of what they took,” Schindler told CBS News last month. “They took hand saws and just cut the trunks,” she added. The big irony is that the whole garden they destroyed didn’t contain a single plant that can get you high, as these were CBD-only kind of plants, intended to be a cure for children. Besides losing the medicine for children who don’t have a lot of choice as far as places to turn for CBD-rich cannabis are concerned, Schindler also claims that the rare strains and their genetics were destroyed forever as a result of the this raid – whoever is responsible for it has done a nasty job. On August 23rd, patient and cultivator Stephen Boski experienced the same thing. The Modesto Narcotics Enforcement Team (MNET) raided his Modesto home in a similar manner. They destroyed his CBD-rich medical marijuana plants that were grown for several children with epilepsy. Unlike Schindler, Boski and one of his staff members were arrested and charged with sales and cultivation.
Ignoring Patient’s Pleas
The story doesn’t end here – the Modesto City Council has also ignored pleas for access to medical marijuana from local patients. Naturally, patients are wondering what is going on. In June this year, FDA has granted Fast Track designation to GW Pharmaceuticals’ investigational cannabidiol (CBD) product, Epidiolex, in the treatment of Dravet syndrome, a rare and catastrophic treatment-resistant form of childhood epilepsy. GW is a biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering, developing and commercializing novel therapeutics from its proprietary cannabinoid product platform. FDA’s Fast Track program facilitates the development of drugs intended to treat serious conditions and fill an unmet medical need. The studies involved 151 patients, 60 of whom are children with an average age of 11, and are being conducted at six medical centers, including NYU Langone Medical Center, UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, and Massachusetts General Hospital. Couple of weeks ago, researchers announced that most of the children in the study have shown improvement. So yes, everyone is wondering – what the heck is going on with law enforcement in California?