9 Year Old Graciela Elizalde uses Medical Marijuana for Epilepsy, a chronic disorder, the hallmark of which is recurrent, unprovoked seizures. She normally has over 400 seizures a day. After years of cycling through anti-convulsive medications, her family is now desperate to try the one experimental treatment that Mexico prohibits — a marijuana oil that has helped American children in similar conditions.
“Almost nobody wants to study or talk about marijuana,” said José Luis Oliveros Usabiaga, a conservative politician who heads the commission on youth in the lower house of Congress. “If there’s an addict in the family, it’s shameful to talk about. It’s a taboo in Mexican society.”
The Mexican constitution gives citizens the right to protection of their health. That was the argument Belaunzarán used when he wrote on June 4 to Mexico’s health secretary requesting permission to import cannabis oil for Grace’s treatment. But many barriers remain. It is illegal to transport marijuana products across state lines and most foreign borders.
In 2015, a federal judge ruled that the Mexican government could not prevent Grace’s parents from importing cannabidiol (CBD) to treat her seizures. If the family can obtain the product, Grace could become the first person to legally use marijuana in Mexico.
Earlier in August, Mexico held its first cannabis expo called “ExpoWeed” A place for patients, producers, horticulturists, and more to exchange ideas and promote public discussion for medical marijuana.
While growing and selling is still illegal in mexico, and marijuana is more often stigmatized and associated with violent drug gangs and cartels, the cannabis evolution is quickly changing popular opinion. This marijuana fair in Mexico helped push for legalization and education to the public. The myth or taboo is diminishing.
“The reason we’re proposing the use of an experimental pharmaceutical like cannabidiol is because the girl’s situation requires it.”
More recently, Graciela was specially cleared by a mexican judge to legally use her medicine. She is the first Mexican citizen allowed to use a cannabis-derived product for medical purposes, overcoming the country’s generally stiff official view on drugs. Grace is paving the way to health and for the future of Mexico’s medical marijuana. Everyday we will continue to learn about the health benefits of this amazing plant, and how it can help patients like Grace live a healthy life.