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Children remain one of the most vulnerable patient populations. From the ability to utilize their medicine at school, to ensuring reciprocity for crossing state lines, we still have a long way to go to ensure children have safe access to their life-saving medicine. This panel will explore what is currently being done to protect pediatric cannabis patients, which states have successfully implemented programs that support pediatric patient access, and how doctors can talk to parents about cannabis use for their children.
This panel was recorded live at ASA's 9th Annual National Medical Cannabis Unity Conference on April 29, 2021. It features: Michael Hiller, Parisa Mansouri-Rad, Rylie Maedler and was moderated by Mara Gordon.
In 2013, at the age of 7, Rylie was diagnosed with aggressive bone tumors that disintegrated her facial bones. Her mother, Janie, learned about the efficacy of cannabis oil against cancer and decided to give it to Rylie hoping it might help minimize her bone tumors and prevent recurrence. With the help of whole plant cannabis oil, Rylie defied everyone’s expectations. Rylie’s smile returned!View the profile
Named one of the TOP 🏆 Women in Weed in Women & Weed Magazine 2021 Parisa Rad also known as “The Marijuana Momma” is a marketing executive and Cannabis advocate whose experience as the mom of a special needs child propelled her into the industry. When spinal fusion surgery to correct scoliosis left her then 15-year-old daughter with a rare, life-threatening condition characterized by chronic abdominal pain, Parisa’s search for palliatives led her to Cannabis (Medicinal Marijuana). After witnessing her daughter’s dramatic improvement, Parisa decided to leverage her marketing experience to re-brand the maligned Cannabis industry through ongoing advocacy and education of the public on the benefits of medicinal marijuana. Parisa graduated with honors from New Mexico State University with a Major in Agriculture Business and a Minor in Marketing. She serves as Market Leader Program Director for Women Grow & President of MjMomma Consulting LLC, a Cannabis focused Marketing Agency.View the profile
Mara Gordon is the co-founder of Aunt Zelda’s™, Octopi Wellness, and Zelda Therapeutics (now Zelira Therapeutics). She specializes in the development of cannabis treatment protocols for seriously ill patients, and is a pioneer in medicinal cannabis globally. Aunt Zelda’s™ line of products are the result of years of research & development in consultation with knowledgeable physicians and world-renowned researchers. Utilizing time-proven extraction processes improved with modern technology, Aunt Zelda’s™ products offer precisely measured potency & purity that allows patients to dose to the milligram, unlocking the therapeutic potential of cannabis. Aunt Zelda’s™ is manufactured by The Oil Plant.View the profile
I'm going to go, I'll just wait another second for Michael to get over here and hopefully Parisa. But in the meantime, let me go ahead and assume that I'm a little awkward and go ahead and give you a little bit of background on who I am and, and why I'm here. So, Mark Gordon, I've been working with Android based medicine and science, and research. Now, for well, over a decade and first started treating, or helping to provide guidance and medicine for
Pediatric cancer patients, in particular, back in early, 2011, since that time have thousands of families through the process of treating, their loved ones and themselves with cannabis and and, and have trained multitude of doctors and no, Nurses as well and how to treat their patients because I do truly believe that until cannabis is something that doctors on a regular basis, feel comfortable, treating their patients with or it just adding to the toolbox of medications that they use. When they make treatment recommendations. We will not get rid of the stigma. It has to come from
the doctors acceptance of it, and then demanding it for their patients. In addition to patients demanding, it like we do through ASA against towards our government officials and ordered at legal inroads with cannabis as a serious medicine, always honored as my pleasure to I can for ASA and have the opportunity to speak with these distinguished panel members today. So, if each of you, could just take a couple of minutes and tell little bit about their your background and that would be just a great place to start. So Riley and give us a couple minutes of
your background and why you're here, that would be fantastic. All right. So, my name is Riley made their I am the founder of the Riley's tomorrow foundation and I'm the CEO of Riley sunshine. In second grade. I was diagnosed with aggressive giant sell granuloma bone tumors. My mom gave me cannabis to try and help with them and right away. We saw a good results. My pants while lighting and only a few months later. We saw bone regeneration, tumor shrinkage. And after one of my procedures, and I had my tumor, I started having seizures and so cannabis help with that as well.
I've been in remission from my bone. Tumors for 6 years is just using cannabis and after I left the hospital and second grade, I started the Riley smile Foundation to Advocate, educate and support. Real life Edition. I was able to pass Riley's fall which may medical cannabis legal for children in my state, which is Delaware. After that. I have passed a few more laws like SB 181 to make it legal for kids to take their medicine on school grounds in a bit. And my Foundation put through an
Autism position to that autism to our state's qualifying conditions. After that. We have passed Compassionate Care, which doctors the ability to recommend cannabis or any condition. They feel would benefit from it. Brylee sunshine was started to provide like taste-tested oils to families in need up because Asian I have gotten a lot of medicines with harmful chemicals and different alcohol and stuff. And that could just be patient and sometime. Make sure that families get medicine that will actually like be safe for their child. Currently. I am
working on Section 8, housing. Can I have cannabis? Because it's Federal property and you know where you live, shouldn't determine if you live. So I'm trying to work on passing a law. So beautiful living Section 8, housing could have access to cannabis to That's fantastic. Congratulations on all your good works, Riley. You are the hope of the future do Michael. You like to tell us a little bit about yourself and and your work with why you're here, that'd be great. You're my first of all, I don't know if you got me all consider you probably cannot. So the first
thing I can tell you about myself is that I'm not especially oriented below and founder of Hillier, PC, give a national cannabis practice and have devoted ourselves to legalization. Advocacy. Both at the state and the federal levels. I've devoted most of my thirty-year career to using the laws and instrument of social change. Most recently served as lead counsel in the president. The lawsuit title Washington versus bar. In case that went all the way to the United States. Supreme Court. A while before the US Supreme Court. We garnered the support
of 19 National and international organizations plus seven members of Congress and a presidential candidate. In the front of the makers Braves Advocate and supported legalization night, nation-wide it to do schedule Canabis from the Controlled Substances Act in the loss to the South and one reasons why a part of this panel is I was representing among others to children to relatively well-known. She'll know. What is Portal and Jagger caught. Both of whom require cannabis medical cannabis to live and I'm proud of
the national dialogue. And I am hopeful that panels, like, this will continue to raise important issues to make sure that people especially children have access to cat medical cannabis when they need it. And I'm so thrilled to be part of this panel and people you Riley or just inspirational story and such an emotional leader in the space, and I'm glad to be part of this. Excellent. It looks like unfortunately, it looks like Parisa has not been able to jump on
here. So if he does later on out, I will go ahead and order it that time. So Michael, if I could start with you, what was your, what was your relationship with with cannabis? Before you got start representing clients who had issues that they were related. Belgium, are you dropped out of this on my feet? I don't know if I'm sorry. I'm sitting there. Anybody that wants to know? I'm sitting in a little internet cafe slash. Bodega in Baja, California, Mexico,
using their internet. So, I apologize. If it's a little bit, a little bit sketchy. There isn't a lot of internet down here. So I was asking, you know, before you started representing clients with cannabis. What were you, what was your relationship with the plant? Where you had you used it, where you were a regular user of it or So so I guess I should start by saying, you know, before I became an attorney, I was a professional musician so you can imagine that. I I definitely had some
experience with cannabis. But the way I came to cannabis ironically wasn't through any use of a cannabis myself on my wall partner, Lauren Rudy, her mother was Pat was with her and she had to travel to California, and I really relied heavily on cannabis with her grandmother with her mother, to help her transition to end-of-life care. And when I return from California, we talked about the pot and the prospect of beginning to represent members of the industry and patients in particular to Advocate on their behalf. So that people
who need medical cannabis contain access to it without regard, to some of the legalization issues that have plagued the industry and really played played American for Generations. In addition, you know, I have close friends, who have been harassed by law enforcement through the pretext of cannabis, possession, and it really crazy, major social justice issues. And really struck a chord with me as someone who has devoted his career to using the laws and instrument for positive. Social change that. I really wanted
to use my law practice as a means by which, to advance an agenda to achieve racial and social justice while the same time advocating on behalf of patients who really need cannabis to maintain their health and their lives. That's great. It seems like so many of us have come to this. As a result of some, it would care about being a light bulb go off. How about you Riley? When I mean about, what was your age when you first started using cannabis? When I first started using cannabis, I was seven. And second grade.
I was giving it for my bones in wrist, and I didn't even know that I was thinking. Cannabis at the time, my mom. She just gave me this oil and she called it essential oils because, you know, the hospital wasn't allowed to know that I was taking cannabis. And so, you know, I just thought I didn't really care. I was taking all I knew was that it was helping me. And so after I left the hospital with, my mom told me what it was, and I had absolutely no idea why it was illegal, because it's what got me out of the hospital. And so, you know, that's how I,
you know, started working to pass Riley's law after that, Riley, about your, about your parents, but your mom did, I mean, it was a very courageous thing for her to do to stay. You know, what? I'm going to go against. I think that's the doctors are saying, and I'm going to give my child, this was this something that you would think no looking back and knowing your mom, that this is in her nature or this was just a really outside of the box or a thing for. So, this was outside of the box cuz, you
know, her family was like, very, very religious. And her brother was a cop and my dad works for the state. And so like it was like just like when I far out, but they were willing to try anything. So, you know, help save me and like you help me the best they could. And so they tried it and it works. Yeah, that's fantastic. And imagine that. Once you knew what you were using and you were going back to school. Obviously, you had to you don't create all this legal framework and all that. But from a, from a
person to person perspective. What were some of your teacher said, one of the school administrator said to, you directly, Your friend's parents live. They said to their kids about it. Most of my teachers. They were pretty supportive. They didn't really say much, but there were a lot, a lot of my school friends, their parents. They would like tell their kids that I'm a bad influence and that they should stay away from me. I guess they saw me as some sort of drug dealer. Although I'm taking this medicine because, you know, it's the reason I'm able to go to school,
you know, because of it. I don't have seizures every day. And I don't have most of the bones in my face gone. So, yeah, I guess they just. I don't know why they told their kids to stay away from me. They just did. Stigma eye stigma. I mean, if you remember back, I don't know what your tent and your two little young for this but it was back during the age, you know, true Heyday, the AIDS epidemic back in the late 80s, early 90s. It was a little boy, named Ryan White and he had connected at HIV through a blood transfusion, but he was a hemophiliac
if I recall and he was kicked out of his school. The whole town ostracized, the whole family. He was it was an awful awful situation. And you had a, I believe Elton John and some other celebrities that picked up and I think you've been princess die. I'm helping him. So, you know, there are there are people out there that was obviously a different situation but the same thing as a lot of celebrities that have been working to help to make cannabis accessible people like Melissa Etheridge and things like that for using it for their own cancers.
And, and I'm very, very curious on starting a foundation and all that. What is your goal, ultimately, are you looking to be able to help people access medicine or do my Foundation School? Basically, Michael is to educate everyone about cannabis. I don't want anyone thinking that, it's something that kids can't take or it's not a lot of people don't even think of it as a medicine. They don't even know what it could do. Like for some people, the full extent is they know that I can like help with pain and that's it. And I travel to Hong Kong to speak
and the people there. Like it's never Candice has never talked about their I spoke in a business conference and everyone there they came out to me and they were like, so do you see? Do you see circles when you take it or does does everything spin around or like to do things change color? And I was like what? And I it's just cuz they don't know about it and it's just you know, she has a drug there. And so I was really glad that I was able to educate the people there and you know change their mindsets on it. So that they know that it is a medicine and it's not some drug that used to get
high and so yeah my foundations. To like educate people about it and try to, you know, why didn't the access to so as much families as possible, can access it and that those start with education, all of it does. Absolutely education is key to everything in the stigma teising or even just changed jingle. I get out. Whether whether the issue is, if you don't have education around it, people have their own Prejudice and their fears. And anytime we're leading with fear. We're leaving down a very, very bad path. So Michael do the work that
you have done. Has been absolutely fantastic and advocating and pushing to have cannabis be accessible for patients in the US and thank you for your thank you for your were. So what are you doing right now? In the new in the Biden Harris Administration? Is there anything different that's going on in your approach to educating your changing the laws or and also on the second half of that is what can we as a community do to help to help you in your efforts? Well, I'll tell you what, it's
regarding. The first question. You asked about the body in Harrison the station. I was encouraged by the presidential campaign during which both Kamala Harris and Joe. Biden has candidates informed. America of their intention to decriminalize cannabis into the schedule, But like most elite Appalachian Advocates, I have been disappointed with the ministration. This far especially given the president's termination and adverse employment actions. With respect to those. He is drug
testing in the White House. I know that before the president got deep into his campaign at at latest November of 2019. He was advocating for the reschedule in the Cannabis from schedule 1 to schedule 3, which would be an absolute disaster on multiple levels. In support of full legalization. I was encouraged and now I'm beginning to think that my advocacy is not going to have to change very much and then have to stay in the same trajectory. It was on the floor, which means full-blown advocacy, both the federal and state levels. So to that extent, I am
part of the international cannabis Bar Association. And I'm a member of the committee that is dedicated to submitting him throughout the United States and supported legalization litigation New Edition. I'm in the process of sounding something called the national cannabis Justice League, which is in a group of us attorneys who are going to dedicate themselves doing pro bono litigation throughout the United States and the n-double-acp did in the 1940s and 50s to end segregation and insofar as what we'd like to be doing going forward, something actually that
you when I briefly talked about and I would like to get more deeply involved, then is to create an organization that I Nfi's True Believers among legislators, both the state and federal level and Executives in the form of Governors and presidents who are dedicated to legalization. Not just in words, but in action. And one thing we can do is talk about how we use our campaign contributions to support candidates who are True, Believers to those who are not going to talk to talk. We were going to walk the walk and will be similar to something
like EMILY's List. And what I was thinking of calling activated in a political way, so I'm sure building on your ID and I don't need to steal your thunder cuz I know you were the one who came up with most of this, but I really think that if we are together and then add a, a political or social component to really Advocate too, and not too, and not only prohibition legislatively, but also to end And the other nests of cannabis, I think we can really make major strides because I can tell you
as a kid. I was a sick kid. When I was younger. I was, I was sick when I was younger and how much I felt traumatized by it. And if I could do anything in the Cannabis face, it would be too. And the other nests is so sated with a treatment with cannabis for children, especially, but also among adults because, in the final analysis, that can be as traumatizing as any other aspect of life is to be treated as if you're not as good or not as as kind or not. As you know, you're not like everybody else or someone different. So if there's a
way for us to do that legislatively and socially through the creation of an organization like Bad, I think we can really make major strides, and, and end the stigma and prohibition and advancing an agenda that helps everyone. Right, you know, you bring up a very good point that is just too. It. Just Beach have everybody just be treated as normal. Whatever normal is. I know it's just a setting on the dryer. But but I mean as far as, you know, one of the worst things for children is to feel different. They have to fit in with the other. That's just part of the of the
development of the personality and everything else. And if you're going to be staying the ties and set aside and it's different somehow that's that's developmentally. It has so many other harmful, side effects. So Riley, do you feel like in some ways it's because you have you don't have had to take on way more responsibility and way more mantle of of Gravitas than a typical, you know, teenager your age. Have you feel like somehow? Yes, it's wonderful to be special and different, but his it hurt you, or how has it affected you as far as you
know, with your your date. Day development, feeling like you're on the same trajectory that you would have been on. Had you not been using this medicine and you would just been using standard Pharmaceuticals. Can you say last part again? There was like a little bit of noise going on the back of my house. I'm sorry. I'm so that's okay. There's so much. I do. I really want to know. I mean, you're a very special young lady and I admire you and respect. You tremendous play. I also raised daughters and have lots of
grandchildren and all that, and I know that the last thing that a teenager wants is to not be the same as their friends. And so, how has taking on this advocacy and public facing? Roll at you feel like has impacted that because there's a lot of kids who use cannabis, who don't start foundations, who don't speak on panels? Who don't you know, take the the proactive steps you have those that something just inside of you and it or is this something that's been encouraged for you
on and do you feel like it has affected your aunt about you developmentally. It's something. Stand inside of me. No one really encouraged me to start advocating and stuff. I did it because, you know, in the hospital I had made a few friends and like leaving the hospital and seeing them like still stuck in their hospital beds like that. Like really hurt me. It's almost like survivor's guilt and I just felt like I had to do something about it because there were so many people who are still suffering. I can't just, you know, I can't live my life
in peace. If I know that other people can't. So I started advocating and, you know, my goal, my life mission, I guess, I've made it to make access for cannabis globally or like anywhere, really because I want everyone to have access to a medicine that helps in the most and yeah, about the speaking and going on panels and stuff. My friends are really supportive. But some kids around me that they like they like don't get it like They don't know anything about cannabis more like they're just confused about
like why I'm going to like South Africa. Hong Kong is real there like, you know, but yeah, and you know what the education programs in schools that doesn't really help also because currently the teach Scare Tactics and those like drug videos from like the 90s early 2000s with absolutely no research behind them and they just like put on these like stigmas more more stigma in schools and education against people who use it and like they don't they don't really separate medical and recreational in those videos. So it like affects
the patients as well. And so like you could see a drug video and it would say like OK, Nabis mix you dumb and does this and that and then like sometimes a kid would like to turn around to look at me cuz they know I take it and like, You can cause a whole new bullying problem, you know, and it's like almost in force by the school because it's what the school is teaching. And like, you know, it might be hard for kids. Go to school on say, oh this kid is bullying me and calling me stupid, but like, they're enforcing it, that school is. And so I feel like we should change the drug
curriculums nationally like across the US has. That's a big problem for Metuchen instead of scared to sorry. That's my Mom's done instead of a scare tactic. And yeah, I forgot when I was out of information. Thank you, Riley. At any point. Did your family ever consider leaving and going to a different state that maybe I had more lenient laws? Or did you make the decision just to stay put and fight where you were? Can see. Now, I didn't want to leave. I just wanted to change the law. You know, I shouldn't have to leave my home to take my medicine, you know, so
just decide to change it and I'm still here taking my medicines all good. We're all glad you are. We're so happy. You are still Michael you. And I, when we talked the other day, we talked a little bit about that, fact it until we resolve the racial issues were, probably not going to get what we want on the do scheduling or it's not going to be as effective. So, how do you feel like that was the best? Their advocates for cannabis, can help to to impact? Also, some of the, the racial Discord that we have,
another young man that was shot in end at the other day, you know, in the back of the head with his hands on the steering wheel because they were served in the drug warrant. So, you know, The disc edgell station of cannabis isn't going to solve that doesn't have to be all drugs that need to be scanned filled, or how do you see that impacting to get to make some impact on the racial Discord in this country? Well, I I see the, I regard the the issue of law enforcement and in drug trafficking issues, that are
dressed. Then it becomes the fodder for all day. I see that all as a pretext, you know, if you look back and then at the Controlled Substances Act enacted in 1970 and you and you dig underneath the statue end and I've done that, I've interviewed members of the Nixon Administration. I've listened to the Nixon tapes and what I found was that the purpose of an act in a controlled substance act and in particular the schedule of cannabis under schedule one was to subjugate persons of color
and to infiltrate the opposition to the Vietnam War at the connection between between both persons of color. Nixon believed that both groups those who opposed Vietnam War and persons of color tended to use cannabis. So he criminalized for the express purpose of infiltrating meetings in using the so-called War on Drugs as a means by which to to attack his opposition. And we are living with that raises Legacy today. And and just so you have a sense of how fresh the evidence
is. One of the members of the Nixon Administration. I spoke to you in the case and and hand me my lawsuit, the lawsuit against the government gave me an affidavit swearing. That the purpose of the Controlled Substances Act in the classification of cannabis under schedule. One was for the purpose of subjugating persons of color and for attacking hippies. Basically, we have to get rid of it. We have to get rid of that entire construct and that's not to suggest by the way. That should continue my queue
Alcohol Tobacco and even Tylenol have have resulted in deaths. So to me, what we need to do is really separate those substances which are truly dangerous and I would put that category and and separate that and the other stops today. I really don't pose a hazard because people do that cut through a lot and really break down. The barriers that have prevented us from becoming systemic racism. Great. Well, that's what that's a discussion that you and I can have for another time. That's going
to be going to do a whole 2 or 3 hours long on that one. Unfortunately. Our time is up if we have some technical issues, so we are running a little bit behind and I really want to thank both you Riley and Michael for joining me here. Unfortunately, Chris and never was able to get on, you know, short taste of it. People who want to reach out to any of us. I'm sure they know how to reach you either at LinkedIn or on your websites. So, thank you all and have a wonderful day.
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