Texas lawmakers receive front page news for medical marijuana
A 17-year-old girl made the front page of the Dallas Morning News for her story about how marijuana stops her from beating herself into a bloody mess, and now copies of that edition are being delivered to state lawmakers in Austin.
Kara Zartler can be seen in the article being held by her parents Mark and Christy as marijuana is administered to her in a vaporized form. Without it, she will punch herself in the head and face, first until blood appears, and then to the point where her bones break. Her school has documented Kara hitting herself 3,000 times in one day. If she gets a hold of anyone during one of these fits, she can do severe damage to them. At one point Kara bit into the bone of her mother’s finger.
The 98 pound girl has both autism and cerebral palsy. The violence stems from her autism, though no one knows what triggers it. The marijuana is the only thing that keeps her calm. Kara typically receives CBD oil, but sometimes they must vaporize whole plant marijuana.
She was previously on a drug called Risperidone, an antipsychotic medication typically used for schizophrenia, and it helped at first. Over time the dosage had to increase due to her body’s tolerance. It got to a point where Christy recalled the pharmacist being shocked at the dosage.
“This is what I’d give a 2,000-pound horse,” she remembered him saying. “I’d never give this to a 49-pound girl.” She added that it turned her into a zombie as well, something she doesn’t experience with marijuana.
The Zartler’s first became well known after a video of Kara hitting herself and then being calmed by marijuana vapor went viral. Mark debated whether or not he should make the video, knowing full well that it would attract the attention of Child Protective Services (CPS), and that they could go to jail for what they’re doing.
Ultimately it did get the attention of a CPS worker, who has opened a case on the family and is demanding that they submit to drug tests. Both Mark, a software engineer, and Christy, a pediatric nurse, do not have criminal records, with the exception of an alcohol related arrest for Mark in college. The Zartler’s have hired an attorney, both to help with CPS, and to draft the paperwork to make them Kara’s guardian once she becomes an adult later this year. At that point, they’ll have to contend with Adult Protective Services.
The two have been to the capitol in Austin and spoke with a number of legislators and their aides about passing HB 2107 and SB 269, both of which would establish a medical marijuana program. They say many were sympathetic, however some felt it wasn’t the right time to support such legislation.
“We came out, and now CPS is coming after us,” Mark said. “If they come out and support it, they’re taking a career risk.” He adds, “All of a sudden, I’m a horrible criminal. They’re gonna make me move out of the house because I’m an abusive father. It makes no sense.”
The dilemma they face is to either allow Kara to beat herself up, which is neglect, or give her the marijuana vapor treatments, which is also considered neglect.
Many families who faced a similar problem have already made the move to a medical marijuana state; others are not so fortunate. In the Zartler’s case, they have elderly parents to take care of.
Their only hope for not being criminals, and for Kara to continue receiving the only medicine which helps her, is for legislators to pass medical marijuana bills this session. The newspapers they receive this week with Kara as the feature story may help change enough minds to make that possible.
They’re hopeful that with a medical marijuana program in place, Kara can someday live in a group home and still receive the medicine she needs.
Read the entire story from the Dallas Morning News.