(WBIR-Mohawk) The family of 7-month-old Josie Mathes said they will leave behind East Tennessee for the Rocky Mountains of Colorado in October. It is a move they do not want to make, but say they have to.
Josie suffers from infantile spasms, and the Mathes family believes cannabis oil would help with her repeated seizures.
"When you run into other people with epilepsy and they see you at the hospital, the common rule of thumb is, 'hey you go to Colorado and you need to go now,'" Josie's father Logan said Tuesday. "You need to go up there and get the cannabis oil."
The oil is a concentrated, liquefied form of cannabis that's had some of the ingredients that cause a "high" removed.
Currently, Josie cannot hold her head up, and parents fear it could lead to long-term effects.
"Turn to the right, her eyes would just stare off and convulse," Logan added. "With it, it becomes severe mental retardation. They stop learning; they're pretty much handicapped from here on out."
Josie's story is not unique to some eyes, Seattle-based Center for Palliative Care told 10News.
"When you look at a family who's struggling with this, with their child, and being powerless to do anything about it and to create a product and it's fully organic, it's worth the risk," said Jeremy Kaufman, co-founder of the CPC.
On Tuesday, the Matheses met with Representatives David Hawk, Jeremy Faison and Jerry Sexton over how to make cannabis oil potentially legal in the state. Earlier this year, Tennessee began testing cannabis' health effects at Tennessee Tech in Cookeville, but there is no legal use of it at this time.
"To use the oil from the plant, not even to smoke the plant or pervert the plant, just to use the oil from the plant that God made, something is wrong with that?" Faison said.
Lawmakers said it would be a challenge, if not impossible, to make cannabis legal by the time the family moves to Littleton by Halloween. Josie's mother, Stacie, said she has no choice.
"We want to see her crawl, we want to see her talk, and at this point, staying in Tennessee we can't see that. That'll never happen," she said.