MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Since the passage of the medical marijuana bill in Minnesota, patients across the state have been helped.
Joy Mitchell says her 16-year-old son Josh went from being violent and often pulled from school to being able to control himself. But the law is still holding the Crosby teenager back.
Even a few months ago, a quiet concentrated game of chess would have been out of the question for Josh Mitchell. The 16-year-old has autism and was diagnosed with Tourette syndrome.
“He’d bang his head really hard on the floor, he took a planter outside on the deck and threw it at the sheriff,” Joy Mitchell said.
“It was not good,” admitted Josh Mitchell.
The decision to try medical marijuana came last year when mom Joy was at her wit’s end.
“A year ago I went to his case worker with the county and I said you need to remove him and put him in a home somewhere,” Joy Mitchell said.
It was her last resort.
“He had threatened my older son with a knife and was escalating and getting too strong for me to restrain, having more episodes and I didn’t know what else to do, we had tried everything we could think of,” Joy Mitchell said.
Doctors prescribed Josh this cannabis oil for his Tourette’s. He takes the medication every two hours.
“I just open up my mouth and I squirt it underneath my tongue. Just one squirt usually. It helped me calm down more and relax more and stuff. I make these noises and it helped stop that too,” Josh Mitchell said.
Joy Mitchell attributes the behavior change to, “the cannabis oil. It’s the only change we’ve made. I mean it was very drastic, very fast. He used to yell I hate my life, F my life all the time. It went from I hate my life to I love my life.”
Last year educators told his parents they couldn’t handle him anymore. The medication has allowed Josh to go back to school. Now he’s progressing, but he only goes to school for half the day. Federal law prohibits medical cannabis from being on school grounds.
“He has a hard time with school as it is and then when he doesn’t have this it makes things more difficult,” Joy Mitchell said.
Josh can only miss one dose before he starts getting agitated.
“If I could have it at school that would help out a lot with my work and everything too,” Josh Mitchell said.
Joy Mitchell wants her son to have as full a life as possible, and that includes going to school all day.
“I mean they keep other medications locked up at school I don’t see why they couldn’t just keep it locked up,” Joy Mitchell said.
A handful of states passed strict legislation allowing medical cannabis use on school campuses.
The chief sponsor of the original bill in Minnesota told WCCO, now that it has been brought to his attention, this should be an easy technical tweak to make here. DFL Senator Scott Dibble is drafting a bill in hopes of introducing it this week to be passed this legislative session.
The Minnesota School Boards Association said its best advice for now is that medical marijuana must be stored and administered off school grounds.
Todd Lyscio, Executive Director at Crosslake Community School where Josh attends school said, “As a public school, we need to follow all laws as they apply to public schools. According to MN Statute 152.23, no school in Minnesota is permitted to have medical cannabis on school grounds. Consequently, since it is not permitted on school grounds, buses, etc. we cannot administer it.”