Hundreds of families throughout the world have been drawn to Colorado to seek medical marijuana treatment for their children’s ailments. These parents and their kids, dubbed “international medical marijuana refugees,” travel thousands of miles in an attempt to procure what they say are lifesaving elements, the Guardian reported Monday.
“We’re not going to choose the option of being criminals with this in Ireland,” Yvonne Cahalane, a young mother who relocated from Ireland to Colorado on a one-year visa with her two sons to seek treatment for her youngest boy, told the Guardian. Her 2-year-old son has a rare form of epilepsy that was causing him to have near-constant seizures, and since seeking treatment in that state, he hasn’t had a seizure in months. “We don’t want to do things illegally, and we don’t want to do it without a doctor,” she said.
No statistical evidence is available on the number of people who have come to the U.S. to seek this treatment, but Cahalane and her family are estimated to be several of hundreds of people who have sought cannabis treatment not available in their home countries for chronic ailments. As of the end of April, 24 states and Washington, D.C., had made some form of marijuana legal. Colorado in particular has attracted treatment-seekers, given its longer history of medical marijuana as well as the presence of advocacy groups and doctors devoted to its study and use.