CannaTech 2018 is history. The inaugural Australian event, with 550 registrants from every level of the cannabis world, was a rousing success. For those who dreamed of the global cannabis revolution, there is good news: the dream has arrived. For this particular cannabis veteran, there was validation of the movement’s future in the form of 12-year old Rylie Maedler, the founder and president of Rylie’s Smile Foundation (https://ryliessmilefoundation.org). Rylie is from Rehobeth Beach, Delaware and she was a long way from home when she took the stage at CannaTech in Sydney, Australia.
Rylie developed an aggressive brain tumor at the age of eight. Surgery would remove the tumor but seizures became a new nightmare that was resolved by cannabis oil, administered by her mom. The youngster would survive, start her foundation to help other pediatric cancer patients and become a cannabis activist along the way. Rylie’s composed presentation to the CannaTech audience would literally bring down the house, leading to an encore presentation after the final speaker on Tuesday afternoon. It was an honor to pose with Rylie for a picture which I can’t help but look at and think, “There we are, the future and the past of medical cannabis.” Don’t get me wrong, I hope to have many more years to speak with people and remind them of the beginnings of the medical marijuana movement. It is my honor — perhaps even my duty — to recall the past.
And when I recall the past I think of Josh Andrews, three years old in 1980 and suffering from Wilm’s Tumor cancer. Like Rylie’s mom, Josh’s mom was willing to do anything to save her child, including the use of cannabis. And like Rylie, Josh survived. He is now 40 years old and living in Idaho. It was my honor to finally meet the Andrews family in 2016. I wrote about Josh for Cannabis Now Magazine (https://cannabisnow.com/josh-a-reagan-era-mmj-miracle-30-years-later/).
These stories are compelling and bring us all to tears. But there are thousands of Josh’s’ and Rylies’ whose names we will never know, children whose parents have taken grave risks to save their lives. Some succeed, some do not. But each should have the opportunity to LEGALLY use cannabis because it may well save their lives.