Health News

May 27, 2012 3:07 PM by Matt Stafford

44 children in Michigan have marijuana cards

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan has issued medical marijuana cards for 44 children, including three who are under 10 years old.

It's a tiny fraction of the 131,483 people who have received medical marijuana cards since Michigan's voter-approved program started in 2009, according to a state website. The program is run by the Bureau of Health Professions in the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.

Of the 44 minors with cards, 21 are 17 years old, 11 are 16 and five are 15. A 7-year-old and two 9-year-olds also have received the cards, the Detroit Free Press reported Sunday. Two others are 14 years old, and a 13-year-old and 11-year-old also hold the cards.

Medical marijuana remains illegal at the federal level. Most of the 17 states that allow medical use don't restrict it to adults, according to Morgan Fox of the Marijuana Policy Project in Washington, D.C. She said Delaware and Connecticut have adults-only rules.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has no policy on medical cannabis, though it's working on developing one, the newspaper said.

Cooper Brown, 14, has Dravet Syndrome, a severe form of epilepsy. His mother, Rebecca Brown, said she turned to medical marijuana after trying every prescription medication to control her son's frequent seizures.

"This isn't something we entered into lightly," said the mother, who lives in Oakland County, north of Detroit. "I've done a lot of reading and a lot of research. I have everything tested. I am not a pot smoker and never in a million years thought of trying this. But when your child is suffering and you feel desperate, you consider things you may not have before.

"To me, it's not a drug issue, it's a compassion issue," she said. Cooper does not smoke the drug, but instead consumes it in food his mother prepares.

The state won't disclose the medical conditions for which the children are authorized to use marijuana. They say it's not known how the children take the drug, though there are many options: in food, such as baked goods, a liquid extract called a tincture, a vaporizer or smoking.

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