Springfield family believes legalizing medical marijuana may save their daughter's life

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. Legalizing medical marijuana in Missouri, cleared one of its first hurdles this week, getting initial approval from the House of Representatives.

That bill applies to people 18 years-old and older with terminal illnesses, though reps are considering allowing patients with other conditions.

We reached out to our viewers to put a face to the people who suffer from severe illness that could possibly benefit from using medical marijuana if the state legalizes it.

We heard from a lot of people with chronic illnesses and diseases against it and for it.

Wednesday we met Elliana Peterson. We learned about her struggle and why her family wants her to have access.

"When I was a baby mom called me lizard because," proclaims Elliana Peterson as she stick out her tongue.

She seems like a normal six year old.

"Soon I will be in first grade," she says.

She loves to read.

"Baby Goofy has a stroller. I used to have that," she says.

Today is a good day. There are many others that aren't.

"It's never going to go away because she can drop at any time even on a good day but it's, its nice not to worry that this one time she might not wake up. It's stressful," explains Elliana's mother, Cassandra Peterson.

Her daughter was first diagnosed with epilepsy when she was three years old.

"Right now she's on three different medications. She's been on eight different medications but none of them help her because she's medication intolerant and it doesn't help her seizures at all. These medicines, they have warnings on them. They'll kill you if you take too much.
Having a medicine that's not going to take her function of life away would be amazing," she says.

It's why she feels state legislators should allow patients of all ages, like her daughter, to have access to medical marijuana. She says it would provide treatment without all the side affects her current medication does.

"Just because the brain's not understood a lot every doctor's got their own opinions on what's going on or what they think she needs done or even her diagnosis," says Peterson.

She says her child often has hallucinations.

"She calls them her seizure monsters," says Peterson.

She says she also suffers constantly.

"Silent seizures because it happens every three seconds for five to ten seconds all day, all night. It's constantly, constantly seizing. Once in a while it scatters throughout the brain," she explains.

Peterson says this leads to her daughter having grand mal seizures which can kill her. She explains that children with the same condition as her daughter often only live to be 13 years-old.

Peterson feels that medical marijuana may be the only way to control her daughter's epilepsy and give her a chance at a normal life.

"You never know how long a minute is until you watch your child seize. It would be awesome," she says.

Missouri House representatives will have to vote on the revised version again before it heads to the Missouri State Senate for their vote.

Right now, there's no scheduled date on when that could happen.