Lawmakers will soon consider funding a study about whether to legalize marijuana in Louisiana. As they do so, the mother of a 2-year-old epileptic girl says she's moving to Colorado to get the medicinal marijuana she says her child desperately needs.
Most of us would do anything for the health of our child. Atasha King is no different.
"If I had to go to Italy, I would, just so she could have a better quality of life," King said.
He daughter, Armani, suffers from severe epileptic seizures - as many as 50 a day - but King says the pharmaceutical drugs she receives make her child lethargic, 24 hours a day.
"One of the seizure medications made it worse," she said.
In March, King plans to move to Colorado, one of 18 states where medical marijuana is available.
"I am hearing that the medical marijuana in Colorado is actually stopping the seizures," she said.
Atasha King isn't going into this blindly. She said her daughter's neurologist is fully on board, adding, "If it works, my husband will come out there and find a new job," she said.
Dr. Peter Winsauer with LSU Health Sciences said that in most cases, prescription drugs can do the job, but medical pot is not out of the question when it comes to treating some conditions.
"I would hate to shut the door on that," he said. "It's a hard question to put it at this point. It's patient by patient, exactly, that's a good way to describe it."
King keeps in touch with other mothers with similar experiences.
"I have connected with them through Facebook, and they tell me how the seizures are decreasing, and how they're more alert," she said.
As she prepares to move in two months, she's heartened that state lawmakers will meet next week to consider funding a study into the pros and cons of legalizing marijuana.
"It's a growing trend nationwide, and we should be able to look at this trend and use it to our advantage," said resolution Resolution sponsor State Rep. Dalton Honore, D-Baton Rouge.
"I think funding a study is the right thing," Rep. Austin Badon, D-New Orleans. "It doesn't cost a lot of money."
But legalization may or may not ever happen, and King said she's going to do what a mother's got to do.
"She means the world to me," said King of her daughter. "I would do anything. It's heartbreaking because I have to leave my family, and me and my husband have to start a whole new life to try medical marijuana, which we could have tried here, if it was legal."
And that's an issue lawmakers will take up next week.
King said the type of medicinal pot she's going to give to her daughter will be sprinkled on food and will be specially grown. It will have a low THC level to minimize the negative impact of marijuana, which many believe can inhibit learning, especially among young people.