Houston family leaving town for Colorado for medicinal marijuana

Shania suffers from life-threatening siezures. Her parents believe marijuana will help.
April 28, 2014 11:07:25 AM PDT
Texas is growing. More and more people move to the Lone Star State every day. There are lots of jobs, a reasonable cost of living and no state income state.

But one Houston family is leaving, moving to another state because of something Texas does not offer. It was a decision they considered to be life or death.

"Everything we know and love has been here in Texas," said Shannon Williams.

Shannon, Stephanie and their children are packing their lives into a truck and moving to Colorado.

"All of our family is here in Texas and we don't really know anybody in Colorado," said Stephanie Williams.

But there is something critical in Grand Junction they don't have here in Houston. It's called hope.

"That hope is cannabis," said Stephanie.

Cannabis, as in marijuana.

"All she needs is a little bitty drop every day, the size of a rice grain," said Shannon. "That's all she needs and that's her daily medicine."

That 'she' is their 3-year-old daughter, Shania.

"She has her own challenges," said Stephanie. "But that makes her who she is. And I know it's weird to say it, but I love her just the way she is."

Shania is developmentally delayed and suffers from daily epileptic seizures, which threaten her life. They believe medical marijuana, which is legal in Colorado, could better and maybe prolong her life.

"There's a lot of good things that are coming about with the medical marijuana," said Shannon.

The Williams will have two doctors treating Shania. A special form of the drug, without its addictive components, will be extracted into an oil just for her. But there are few long term studies on the benefits or side effects from the drug's use.

"None of this is without risk," said Dr. Erik Antonsen, an assistant professor with Baylor College of Medicine. "If you have a medical indication for it and you are working with your physician who can balance the risks that we take with the benefits of that medicine, then it is a perfectly reasonable way to go about doing this."

The Williams know they'll have critics, but they're focused on Shania and the hope they'll find in Colorado, but wishing it wasn't a move they feel they have to make.

"I don't understand why it is such a battle to get this legalized, especially for people who are suffering like my daughter," said Shannon.

Medical marijuana is legal in 20 states and the District of Columbia. Maryland has pending legislation awaiting the governor's signature. There are legislators in Texas looking to reform our state's marijuana laws, but nothing concrete about legalizing medical usage.

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