The Fight for Medical Marijuana in Minnesota: Greta's Story


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"I have a lot of trouble hearing physicians or politicians come on TV or radio and say, you know, we don't know what medical marijuana does cognitively to the brains of these young kids…any parent who's got a kid with epilepsy, who's having seizures, we know what that does cognitively, to their brains," said Mark Botker, a farmer in Minnesota.

Mark and Maria Botker have three daughters and own a farm in Clinton, Minnesota. Their 7-year-old daughter, Greta, suffers from a severe form of epilepsy. Over the years, they've tried numerous prescription medications to control Greta's seizures without success.

Last summer they learned that a form of medical marijuana with a high concentration of a cannabinoid called CBD can help control epileptic seizures. Because medical marijuana is illegal in Minnesota the Botkers purchased a home in Colorado so that Greta could have access to the medicine. Maria and Mark now take turns caring for Greta in Colorado while the rest of the family remains in Minnesota.

Since she started taking medical marijuana, Greta's seizures have decreased dramatically. The Botkers would like to bring Greta back home to Minnesota, and lawmakers in the state may give them the opportunity to do just that. The Minnesota legislature is currently considering two medical marijuana bills. Reformers say they have the votes to legalize medical marijuana, but it's not clear that Gov. Mark Dayton (D) will sign a medical marijuana bill into law. In a recent press conference, Gov. Dayton had this advice for people like Greta who could benefit from medical marijuana: "The fact is that you can go out in any city in Minnesota, I'm told, and purchase marijuana. And if you possess less than an ounce of it, an ounce and a half of it, it's a petty misdemeanor, it's a traffic ticket."

"We just plead with the legislators, and we plead with Governor Dayton to please consider our daughter and our family," Maria Botker said.

About 5 minutes. Produced by Paul Feine. Camera by Alex Manning. Music: "Beyond Touch" by Keijo.

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