Georgia couple Matthew and Suzeanna Brill have been charged with reckless conduct and have lost the custody rights to their 15-year-old son, David, for giving him cannabis as an alternative treatment for the youth’s epileptic seizures, according to a NY Times report.
According to the Brills, once he started using medical cannabis, their son went seizure-free for 71 days — the longest stretch of relief any medication had ever afforded him.
But when someone alerted the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services, officials came on April 20 and drug tested the whole family. Mr. Brill and David tested positive for cannabis, Ms. Brill did not. The parents then admitted to giving cannabis to their son and authorities demanded that they stop.
“We complied, and within 14 hours of complying we were rushing our son to the hospital. And it was one of the most horrific seizures I’ve ever seen.” — Suzeanna Brill to the NY Times
The Brills spent six days in jail, costing Matthew his job and complicating the family’s financial situation. After his seizure, David spent a week in the hospital before he was moved to a group home 60 miles from where his parents live.
“Even with the ramifications with the law, I don’t care. For 71 days he was able to ride a bike, go play, lift weights. We were able to achieve that with David medicated not from Big Pharma, but David medicated with marijuana.” — Matthew Brill to the NY Times
The Brills have set up a crowdfunding campaign to pay for lawyer expenses in the upcoming battle to regain custody of their son, which they say could take a year or more.
Medical cannabis is technically legal in Georgia, but only for a few specific conditions and only in oil form — also, it remains illegal to grow or process cannabis in the state, so there is no legal method of obtaining the medicine.
Federally, cannabis remains a Schedule 1 “drug” with “no medical use.”