A 17 year-old athlete is raising big questions about medical cannabis in Georgia. CJ Harris, a football player in Warner Robins, takes cannabidiol (CBD) oil four times a day to treat his epilepsy. Because his public high school won’t allow him to bring the medicine on campus, Harris’s father has to pick him up from school, as reported by the Associated Press.
Everyday, Curtis Harris comes to Warner Robins High School, signs his son out of class, takes him to another location where the cannabis oil can be legally stashed, administers it, then drives CJ back to school.
Before CJ started treating his illness with CBD, he suffered one or two grand mal seizures a month. The seizures prevented him from giving his top performance in sports, and made it legally impossible for him to get a driver’s license. For awhile, CJ had pharmaceutical treatment in the form of Keppra anti-convulsion pills. But the pills made CJ irritable and could have potentially caused more seizures if a dose was missed.
That’s when the Harris family considered putting CJ on CBD oil. CJ got on the state’s cannabis oil registry and gets his supply, awesomely and hilariously, from his state representative Allen Peake. As we reported earlier this month, Peake is going above and beyond his civic duty and actually distributing cannabis oil to his constituent MMJ patients free of charge.
Since he started taking the oil in January, CJ hasn’t had a single seizure. The Harris family started breathing a sigh of relief until CJ switched schools from a private Presbyterian school to a public high school, which opened up a new host of problems.
Cannabis, even the medical, non-psychoactive variety, is still a controlled substance as far as the federal government is concerned. Public schools which depend on federal funding are going to be wary of allowing their students to break federal law, according to Justin Pauly, director of communications for the Georgia School Boards Association. “It puts the school systems in a very difficult position," Pauly told the AP.
For now, families like the Harrises have to keep up an inconvenient, but workable solution while hoping that schools start to figure out ways to help give their son the medical treatment he needs, instead of being obstacles for that treatment.
"Stories like this are happening and will be happening all over our state as the medical cannabis law continues to expand," said Rep. Peake. "I'm looking for education administration officials to show some courage and do what's in the best interest of students."