First Medical Marijuana Patient in Mexico
Graciela Elizalde, age 8, suffers 400 seizures per day, and for this reason, she is the first authorized consumer to medicate with medical marijuana in Mexico. August 8, the Health Ministry of Mexico announced that it would process the paperwork in order to get the medication to alleviate Graciela’s epileptic fits.
“We are happy,” Raul Elizalde, the girl’s father, told AFP by telephone. “It’s our last hope… We want to reduce the number of convulsions from 400 per day to none. We hope that she could become more independent, that she could walk and speak and eat on her own.” Elizalde received news of the victory after he met with Cofepris, the agency that oversees medicine imports.
Grace suffers from Lennox-Gastaut syndrome which causes her to have constant seizures. As an 8-year-old, Grace has only spoken the word “mommy.” She is confined to a wheelchair and has to use diapers. Her parents have gone as far as treating her with brain surgery, but nothing has worked. Like dozens of other families, the Elizalde’s had heard about Charlotte Figi. They wanted to see that kind of success with Grace.
Raul Elizalde contacted the government’s General Health Council asking for a special permit to import cannabidiol, but they ignored his pleas. Last month, a judge showed compassion and ordered that Grace’s case required that she needed the CBD oil. Elizalde said the protocol entails obtaining a prescription then the oil is imported.
According to the Business-Standard, The Health Ministry of Mexico said Grace will receive Epidiolex, which is produced by GW Pharmaceuticals in the UK. “It must be clarified that this health authorization does not give the green light to import marijuana in any of its forms,” the health ministry said. The ministry emphasized that the exception is only for Grace. “[Cofepris] took into consideration that this is a particular case because it has been resistant to all available treatments in Mexico, including surgery.”
Unlike the United States, medical marijuana is statistically nowhere near as popular. The Elizalde family is well aware of drug violence in Mexico. According to the Washington Post, both Raul Elizalde’s father and his wife’s father were kidnapped by the Zetas drug cartel. The Zetas also taxed the Elizalde’s hair accessory business $150 a month. “It was pure terror,” Raul told the Washington Post.“This isn’t something we wanted to do to break the paradigm or anything,” Raul said. “This is our last chance.” It’s drug violence from illegal marijuana operations like the Zetas that have branded Mexico with a negative perception of marijuana. Fernando Belaunzarán is a Mexican lawmaker fighting for medical marijuana. “The war on drugs has generated such an avalanche of ideology that it’s difficult to break these prejudices,” he said.
Many argue that legalisation helps fight drug cartels, and that’s another reason to legalise medical marijuana. If Mexico is able to overcome its qualms about medical marijuana, there are many like Grace that can benefit from the healing effects and live normal lives.