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Medical Marijuana Deal 'Great News' For Luverne Family

May 15, 2014, 9:55 PM by Jared Ransom

Medical Marijuana Deal 'Great News' For Luverne Family

Jim and Heather Johnson's daughter Luella suffers from Dravet Syndrome, a form of epilepsy that can cause seizures at any time.

"That feeling of powerlessness and not being able to help your child and prevent the next one from coming, it's rough," Jim Johnson said.

Jim and Heather are celebrating news that the state legislature has come to an agreement to legalize certain forms of medical marijuana.

"We're really thrilled with the outcome and we think that will give Luella the best chance to get access to the medical marijuana that we want for her," Heather Johnson said.

As the legislative session progressed, the family had thoughts of moving to a state where the drug is offered legally, but Luella's condition isn't considered severe, so they felt comfortable staying in Luverne.

"Definitely if things got worse for her, that would be something we would have had to consider because ultimately we want to put her health first," Heather Johnson said.

The compromise will help Luella, but the Johnsons feel that there are still people being kept away from crucial treatment options.

"Unfortunately, it does leave a lot of people out who are hoping to get access to it like our veterans with PTSD or traumatic brain injuries, those people are left out. There are other children who have severe symptoms but not one of the qualifying diseases," Jim Johnson said.

While medical marijuana will help with the seizures, it won't eliminate them completely, which is why the Johnson family's battle is far from over.

"Continue to fight on for a cure for Dravet Syndrome. There's work being made in that as well. It's caused by a genetic disorder, but there's work in genetics going on. If we can get more fundraising and research done, we're hopeful that someday we'll even cure the underlying cause as well," Jim Johnson said.

The compromise will allow eight distribution sites where people can pick up what they need. The Johnsons know that they have to travel to get their medication, but they say the trips will be well worth seeing their daughter feeling better.

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