Seeking medical marijuana for their sick child, Va. family plans - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Seeking medical marijuana for their sick child, Va. family plans to move to Arizona

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BRISTOW, Va. -

A Virginia family is so desperate for marijuana for their 15-month-old son that they will soon be moving thousands of miles away to Arizona to get it.

Levi Strouth has severe epilepsy and suffers from up to 50 seizures a day. He is on at least five anti-seizure medications that his parents, Jennifer and Dan Strouth, say are no longer working and have even worsened his condition.

They are desperate to help him and think medical marijuana is the answer.

“He doesn't hold his head up,” Jennifer says. “He's never smiled at us. He's never looked at us. They say he might not walk, so you know, you just get desperate. You'll do anything.”

Medical marijuana isn't legal in the Commonwealth.

Now, the Strouths are making the tough decision to uproot their family from their home in Bristow, Va., and move to Arizona where medical marijuana is available to children like Levi who suffer from severe seizures.

The form of marijuana the children get doesn't get them high, but many say offers almost immediate relief.

"With most of the children with epilepsy that have tried it, it has worked within hours, days,” says Jennifer. “There have been children who were in wheelchairs not feeding themselves that are now walking and feeding themselves."

The move would be a hardship on the family. Jennifer owns a hair salon and Dan works at a car dealership. Both would have to leave their jobs and take their 5-year-old son Dylan and 2-year-old daughter Sadie out of the environment they know.

They would also have to leave family behind. Jennifer says those family members have been instrumental in helping to care for Levi and the other children.

Still, the Strouths say they are willing to do anything to give their little boy any chance at a normal life.

"To smile at us, to talk to, interact to, just be happy, to hold on to a toy, it's worth it to us,” Jennifer says.

The Strouths say they are speaking out because they are hoping lawmakers will see their plight and understand that medical marijuana isn't about getting high, but giving some very sick children and others hope.

Virginia has a medical marijuana law that was passed in 1979, but it only allows doctors to "recommend" the treatment for cancer and glaucoma patients. Since marijuana is illegal in Virginia, the law is really ineffective.

Last month, some groups, including Safe Access Virginia, which focuses on medical marijuana issues, lobbied the state legislature.

They found some support including from the Virginia Lt. Governor Ralph Northam, who says he will be helping to work on legislation that will be introduced in the 2015 session.

Medical marijuana is legal for adults with certain conditions in D.C., and in Maryland, a program is still in the works.

The Strouth family has set up a website, “Love for Levi,” to help get him closer to medical marijuana. If you would like to help, go to http://www.gofundme.com/75lzls.

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