Father Frustrated With Medical Marijuana Standstill

"It really makes it hard to be proud to be a South Dakotan”

A Sioux Falls dad says he’s had a difficult year after being part of efforts to advance medical marijuana legalization, all of which have come up short.

It’s an issue that hits close to home.

He says his son has a rare type of epilepsy, and could benefit from legalizing one product in particular.

“It really makes it hard to be proud to be a South Dakotan,” says George Hendrickson.

Hendrickson is talking about the latest attempt by supporters of medical marijuana to let voters decide whether or not it should be legal in the state.

It failed because the State says there weren’t enough legitimate signatures to put it on the November ballot.

This comes after a different proposal was denied in the State House to legalize CBD oil for children with epilepsy.

“I have legislatures tell me, if they were me, they would move,” adds Hendrickson.

Hendrickson’s son, Eliyah, has Dravet Syndrome, a form of epilepsy that causes developmental delay.

Eli, at age 4 can’t walk or talk, and often has seizures.

“He’s at a high risk for SUDEP, which is a sudden seizure death,” explains Hendrickson.

Hendrickson says two years ago, a doctor gave their family two options for Eli: increase the amount of an already long list of pharmaceutical medications, ” or we were going to have to put him on this extremely stringent and strict ketogenic diet, and consider putting him on CBD oil.”

Hendrickson says he hasn’t always been a fan of medical marijuana.

“In my background, giving a cannabis product to a child would be absolutely unheard of.”

He even voted against it years ago.

“I wasn’t in the fight, but I tell you once you’re in the fight and you have to do the research, it’s amazing how stupid you feel.”

Now-a-days, when it comes to medical marijuana and CBD oil, he says all he’s asking legislators, is do the research.

“This is going to become a nation-wide used medicine; it’s just a matter of if my son is going to live long enough to see it,” says Hendrickson.

The next step for Eliyah is to have a procedure done at the end of the month to help with a condition he’s recently come down with called Electric Status Epelepticus, which doesn’t allow his brain to absorb information he learned that day.

After that he’ll continue with his current medication and strict food diet.

The Hendrickson family says they could be forced to move to Colorado in the future if they don’t see a change here in South Dakota.

To help with medical expenses, the family has set up a GoFundMe account.