The parents of a boy suffering from severe seizures have filed a lawsuit against the state of Arizona to ensure that their son will have access to medicinal cannabis oil without the risk of prosecution. Zander Welton, 5, was born with cortical dysplasia, a genetic defect that disrupts cellular patterns in the brain and is often the cause of epilepsy. Zander is non-verbal and suffered seizures daily before his parents started giving him cannabis oil.
Although Arizona allows marijuana to be used for medicinal purposes, some state officials, including the attorney for Maricopa County, where Zander Welton and his family live, and the head of the Arizona Department of Health Services have said that products with resin extracted from marijuana, such as the oil originally used to treat Zander, are actually classified as an illegal narcotic according to the state’s criminal code. On Monday, Zander’s parents, Jennifer and Jacob Welton, working with the ACLU, filed a lawsuit that would protect the use of marijuana extracts or products with marijuana resin for medicinal purposes.
“When Arizona’s voters said yes to legalizing medical marijuana for seriously ill patients in 2010, they certainly meant the plant as well as extracts from the plant,” said Emma Andersson, an ACLU lawyer working with the Weltons. “After seeing not one but two brain surgeries fail to help their son, Zander’s parents finally found an effective treatment in a medical marijuana extract?they don’t deserve to be scared off from the best medicine available for Zander.” The lawsuit names the defendants as Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, Maricopa County Attorney William Montgomery, the Arizona Department of Health Services, and the director of the Arizona Department of Health Services William Humble.