April 21, 2019
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Girl, 13, who moved to Maine, became medical marijuana advocate dies

The 13-year-old girl who moved from Montville to Maine and became the face of a push to expand the state’s medical marijuana program to include children has died.

Susan Meehan and her daughter, Cyndimae, left Connecticut in 2013 so the girl could get access to cannabis oil to treat her chronic seizures caused by Dravet syndrome. The two became advocates of expanding Connecticut’s medical marijuana to include children, and Meehan testified at a public hearing earlier this month with Cyndimae sitting on her lap.

Cyndimae died on Sunday at the family’s home in Augusta.

Lawmakers welcomed the pair back for a second legislative session, as Meehan had backed a similar bill last year that wasn’t approved. She told lawmakers her daughter was doing better and that cannabis oil had drastically reduced the number of seizures Cyndimae had.

“When we left Connecticut in 2013, Cyndimae couldn’t get out of that wheelchair,” Meehan told lawmakers on March 2. “She was 65 pounds … she was very thin.”

But now Cyndimae was able to walk and attend school, Meehan said. The daily seizures had become a once or twice a week occurrence.

“I’m sorry that you had to take refuge in the state of Maine. … I hope we do the right thing this year in the legislature and move with the times,” said Connecticut Sen. Terry Gerratana, D-New Britain, co-chair of the committee.

A memorial service will be held for Cyndimae Thursday in Montville.

Meehan didn’t take the decision to move to Maine with her daughter lightly, but said she had an obligation to save the girl’s life.

“You don’t tear your family apart at the seams without knowing something is going to work,” Meehan said Tuesday, testifying in favor of an expansion of the state’s medical marijuana program that would make the drug available for children while Cyndimae sat on her lap.

Meehan left her Montville home in 2013 — leaving behind her husband and the life she had established in Connecticut — after police raided the grower she was using to get cannabis oil to treat her daughter’s chronic seizures caused by Dravet syndrome.

Cyndimae had gone 92 days without a seizure “until the police … destroyed the plants that were saving my daughter’s life,” Meehan said.

“I don’t think lawmakers often understand the direct impact of their decisions upon families,” she said in an interview after her testimony before the public health committee. “Sometimes they’re talking about a tax and maybe that impacts a family but it’s not a life-changing or a life-giving decision. Legalizing medical marijuana for pediatric use would truly impact and save many pediatric lives.”

 



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