Indiana child services threatened to remove a 20-month girl from her home because her mom and dad — after intense soul searching and careful research — chose to treat their daughter with CBD-based medicine instead of pharmaceuticals.
“Our daughter was medically kidnapped by the state of Indiana by them forcing us to give her that medicine Keppra otherwise they were going to take her away from us that is the direct term of medical kidnapping period,” Jade Jerger, the father of little Jaelah, told Fox59 News.
What makes the case so confounding is that Indiana purportedly allows for medical marijuana. In April of this year, Gov. Eric Holcomb signed a bill creating an MMJ program for patients suffering from treatment-resistant epilepsy. The cannabis must contain .3% or less THC. According to recent polling data, 73% of the state’s voters want medical marijuana.
Jaelah suffers from myoclonic seizures and her parents say she can have up to 40 episodes per day. It would seem clear that she would qualify as a patient. But Indiana’s rules are a bit nebulous. As the Indy Star reports:
The case raises more questions about what state officials consider to be the legal status of CBD oil — and whether medical professionals consider the substance to be a viable alternative to pharmaceuticals.
Conflicting interpretations of state law regarding CBD oil have emerged since Holcomb signed a bill in April creating a registry allowing Hoosiers with treatment-resistant epilepsy to use CBD products.
A short time later, the law enforcement arm of the Alcohol and Tobacco Commission used the law as justification for seizing the product from nearly 60 stores across the state, stating the law only allowed those on the registry to have CBD.
CPS dropped the case after a state representative Mark Messmer stepped in and informed the agency that no law was broken and that the parents were merely doing their best for the child. “They [CPS officials] overreacted based on a complaint from the nurse practitioner in this case and should have approached it more cautiously than they did,” Messmer said. “I saw it as extremely heavy handed and overreach on the part of DCS.”
For Lelah Jerger, the experience was a nightmare. “Our daughter was never taken away from us, but the fear was horrible to live with,” Lelah Jerger told the Indy Star. “I would look outside my window just scared to death I would see a police officer and CPS here to take my kid.