It’s often in America that you hear of a Republican bureaucrat showing support for legalizing medical or recreational cannabis, let alone acknowledging its existence as a viable treatment. While a few candidates from the party who lightly danced around the issue, such as presidential nominee Donald Trump, the right wing of the political spectrum is usually against cannabis use in any way, shape, or form.
But one Republican lawmaker from Tennessee, Rep. Jeremy Faison, has decided to take a journey to the state of Colorado to learn about the benefits of medical marijuana firsthand. The representative has been documenting his travels on Facebook as he interviews former Tennessee residents who fled his state for the greener pastures of Colorado. According to Faison, the reason for his extensive trip was to talk to families who have seen and experienced the direct benefits of using cannabis for medical purposes.
Thus far, the Republican lawmaker has met a handful of families and individuals who have relocated from his state to Colorado. During his trip, Faison interviewed Rachael and Shawn Selmeskis, who claim that their move has dramatically improved the quality of life for their daughter Maggie, who has been suffering from seizures since she was six weeks old. While living in Tennessee, the couple gave their daughter four different types of FDA-approved drugs, but still their daughter’s outlook did not look much better.
Since moving to Colorado and getting their daughter on medical marijuana, Maggie has gone from around 500 seizures a day to just 50. Mr. Selmeskis was initially opposed to medical marijuana because of the strong stigma against cannabis, but once he saw how it positively impacted his daughter’s life, his view did a complete 180. Not only did Faison discover that cannabis likely saved Maggie’s life, it also saved the family from having to use pricey insurance to cover the expenses of several prescription drugs, one of which cost $20,000 a month. Now, the Selmeskis family is paying just $45 a month for medical cannabis treatments.
Representative Faison also met with Penn Mattison, who moved from Nashville to Colorado to help treat her daughter’s epilepsy disorder. The Republican lawmaker discovered that the Mattison family has also seen significant improvements in their child’s health thanks to medical cannabis. But it isn’t just the wellbeing of children that have people fleeing to Colorado.
One of Faison’s most recent interview was with Matthew Kahl, a veteran who served in the 101st Airborne Division in Afghanistan. Upon returning home from service, Kahl was given almost 90 different prescription drugs to help recover from his injuries. The veteran has since relocated to Colorado and has switched his medication to cannabis.
Before heading home to Tennessee later this week, Faison plans on speaking with Colorado law enforcement officials and legislators. The trip will certainly factor into his decision to file legislation next year that would allow medical marijuana in his state. The city council in both Nashville and Memphis has already passed legislation that would allow police to issue minor penalties for those in possession of a half-ounce of marijuana or less instead of arrest and possible imprisonment.
By going to Colorado, Faison has gone where few Republicans have gone before, to the forefront of medical cannabis industry to meet those it has positively impacted the most. You can keep up with his journey by following him on Facebook.