GREENEVILLE (WJHL) – A Tennessee state representative plans on introducing legislation that would legalize medical marijuana in the state after meeting with several families who moved from Tennessee to Colorado to get treatment they can’t get here.
“Overwhelmingly every single person I interviewed was very pleased at what they’ve done, the quality of life of child, their mom , and their selves, their quality of life has exponentially grown,” Rep. Jeremy Faison (R-Cosby) said. Faison represents Cocke and part of Jefferson and Greene counties.
One of the families he met with is the Selmeskis. They moved to give their four-year-old daughter Maggie access to medical marijuana. They were recently in Greene County visiting family and friends.
“By four and a half months old, we were told she wouldn’t live very long and that was kind of our lowest low,” Rachael Selmeski, Maggie’s mom said.
Selmeski said Maggie would have over 500 seizures a day.
“Any movement she made it was a seizure otherwise she was limp and lifeless at the time she was also on four pharmaceuticals,” Selmeski said.
They said they tried dozens of treatments. “We would be at the hospital and they would want to try a new seizure med and they’d have a crash cart outside her room because they’d tell us this might stop her breathing or stop her heart,” Selmeski said.
The Selmeskis said they slowly started coming around to the idea of alternative treatments like medical marijuana.
“It took the realization that that wasn’t going to happen that these doctors were not going be able to save my child for me to really rethink all of the ways that I’ve been taught my entire life saying this is wrong this is wrong this is wrong well now this is our only option,” Maggie’s dad Shawn Selmeski said.
So they decided to move across the country to get Maggie access to medical marijuana, a move they say saved her life.
“I think God really protected us from realizing how critical she was when we left. And it’s not until we started to see her progress and started to see her really make strides that we realized she wouldn’t have been alive if we would’ve stayed in Tennessee, there’s no doubt my mind that we would’ve lost her,” Rachael Selmeski said.
“Now she communicates with us, she moves around like crazy, she plays with her brother at times in her own way, it’s a whole different side of my little girl that I’ve never seen before. And I’m only saying it now due to the fact that we’re off these pharmaceuticals and only on cannabis,” Shawn Selmeski said.
Now Maggie is in school and down to between 20 and 50 seizures a day.
Faison said the legislation he plans to introduce would legalize marijuana with a prescription from a doctor.
“What I’m envisioning right now is something that’s very tight, very limited, Faison said. “It would be maybe 50 or 60 grows in the state and it would be from seed to delivery so all under one roof.”
The Selmeskis said they would consider moving back if medical marijuana became legal here.
WJHL reached out to several local representatives and asked how they would vote on a bill legalizing medical marijuana.
Rep. Micah Van Huss, Rep. Bud Hulsey, and Rep. Jon Lundberg all said they would vote against it. Rep. David Hawk and Rep. Matthew Hill both said they would need to see the bill before commenting.