The Past and the Future

CannaTech Sydney 2018 is history. The inaugural Australian event, with 550 registrants from every level of the cannabis world, was a rousing success. For those who dreamed of the global cannabis revolution there is good news: the dream has arrived. For this particular cannabis veteran there was validation of the movement’s future in the form of 12-year old Rylie Maedler, the founder and president of Rylie’s Smile Foundation ( She is from Rehobeth Beach, Delaware and she was a long way from home when she took the stage in Sydney, Australia.

Rylie Maedler and Alice at CannaTech Sydney 2018.

Rylie developed an aggressive brain tumor at the age of eight. Surgery would remove the tumor but seizures became a new nightmare that was resolved by cannabis oil, administered by her mom. The youngster would survive, start her foundation to help other pediatric cancer patients and become a cannabis activist along the way. Rylie’s composed presentation at CannaTech would literally bring down the house, leading to an encore presentation after the final speaker on Tuesday afternoon.  It was an honor to pose with Rylie for a picture which I can’t help but look at and think, “There we are, the future and the past of medical cannabis.” Don’t get me wrong, I hope to have many more years to speak with people and remind them of the beginnings of the medical marijuana movement. It is my honor — perhaps even my duty — to recall the past.

And when I recall the past I think of Josh Andrews, three years old in 1980 and suffering from Wilm’s Tumor cancer. Like Rylie’s mom, Josh’s mom, Janet, was willing to do anything to save her child, including the use of cannabis. And like Rylie, Josh survived. He is now 42-years old and living in Idaho. It was my honor to finally meet the Andrews family in 2016. I wrote about Josh for Cannabis Now Magazine (

These stories are compelling and bring us all to tears. But there are thousands of Joshs’ and Rylies’ whose names we will never know, children whose parents take grave risks to save the lives of their children. Some succeed, some do not. But each should have the opportunity to LEGALLY use cannabis because it may well save the life of their child. ❖

My Friend Liz & MS

Elizabeth Brice and Robert Randall in London, October 1994.

Recently I had the wonderful opportunity to visit the Wellcome Trust Library in London and review the archives of Elizabeth Brice and the UK chapter of the Alliance for Cannabis Therapeutics (ACT). A history student from Bristol University alerted me to the existence of these archives. He was writing his undergraduate dissertation on the role of patients in changing the attitudes toward medical cannabis in the United Kingdom so it is no surprise that he focused on Elizabeth. For much of the 1990s Liz was THE face of medical cannabis in Britain. She was a powerful voice for the issue and she was also an MS patient.

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is quite prevalent in Britain. At one time there was a theory that MS tended to cluster in cold climates. Whether that is true or not I don’t know but it does seem to me that most MS patients I have had the pleasure to know have been from northern climes. Elizabeth read that cannabis could help her MS and after some careful trials she determined that it was, indeed, very helpful. She set out to help others and almost single-handedly turned the tide of public opinion. She also became friends with a fellow named Geoffrey Guy who would establish GW Pharmaceuticals in England.  Dr. Guy was determined to establish a cannabis-based medicine that would be available through the conventional channels of doctor-patient-pharmacist. He succeeded in developing Sativex. Liz was among the first to use the drug and found it quite helpful.

Sativex has been controversial but a recent study in Italy found it to be helpful for MS patients. Here is the link:  Liz would be happy to read this report. Unfortunately she died in 2011 at the age of 54, the same age as Robert was when he died (in 2001).  These heroic patients get too little credit for today’s booming green rush. I’ll be writing more about Elizabeth and the other brave souls who were the true pioneers of medical cannabis.

Victory for the Kids | Cannabis Now (11/09/2015)

Bobby Moulton will not go to jail. The Rhode Island medical cannabis activist who has dedicated his life to helping pediatric cancer patients with cannabis oil has dodged a potential of 30 years in jail and will, instead, serve 7 years of unencumbered probation. Miracles, it seems, do still happen. Bobby’s case was detailed in […]

Source: Victory for the Kids | Cannabis Now

Taking One for the Kids: Activist Arrests Continue | Cannabis Now

By all accounts, Bobby Moulton is a nice guy. The soft-spoken, Indiana native loves kids and a few years back he found his calling when he learned how effective cannabis oil could be in the treatment of cancer, particularly pediatric cancer. “I was a sick ‘lil one myself,” he recalls. “Ear infections, pneumonia, seizures and […]

Source: Taking One for the Kids: Activist Arrests Continue | Cannabis Now

Buds & Brushes: The Art of Healing | Cannabis Now (06/27/16)

The use of cannabis by those experiencing post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is well known, but cannabis doesn’t cure PTSD. In fact, there are many who feel that PTSD can never be cured since the underlying problem is memory of psychological trauma that can never be fully erased. PTSD, like grief, must be assimilated into […]

Source: Buds & Brushes: The Art of Healing | Cannabis Now

The sorrow…

Medical Cannabis news reports in the past couple days have brought two sad stories, each proving that the fight for medical cannabis is far from over and that’s its victims are often our youngest warriors.

The first is from Maine, where a 13-year old with Dravet’s Syndrome died.  The young girl, Cyndimae Meehan, became a medical cannabis advocate when her family was forced to moved from Connecticut to Maine in order to secure Cyndimae’s medicine.  Both New England states have medical cannabis laws but Connecticut, amazingly, does not allow pediatric use.  You can read more here:

thThe second story comes from Cyprus.  Too often we think of medical cannabis only in U.S. terms but the fight to secure the natural medicine is being fought around the globe.  Cyprus is a small, island nation off the coast of Syria and Turkey.  A 19-year old Cypriot with cancer petitioned the Health Ministry for two years for permission to use cannabis in his therapy.  In a move that is all too familiar to long-time medical cannabis advocates, the government only gave in when the boy was near death.  His petition was granted three days before his death.  For more details read here: