A New Mexico family is suing the state’s health department claiming that medical marijuana growing limitations hinder producers from making a certain cannabis oil that helps with their infant daughter’s rare disorder.
Nicole and Ernie Sena have an 8-month-old daughter named Amylea, and when they look into her eyes they said they see more than the disorder that has plagued their little girl since she was born.
Amylea suffers from tonic-clonic seizures, an extremely rare form of epilepsy. According to the Senas, their daughter is one of five children in the world who suffers from it.
The Senas say that their daughter’s seizures have been haunting to watch.
“She stops breathing and goes stiff,” Nicole Sena said. “She then starts with the shaking, chewing and then the screaming. It’s a scary scream, and I hate to repeat that sound in my head.”
Doctors told the Senas that Amylea would never walk and likely wouldn’t live past her teens. When several medications didn’t stop their daughter, the Senas turned to a cannabis oil called Haleigh’s Hope.
After getting on the oil, the Senas say that Amylea’s seizures stopped completely.
“She’s a fighter, and she’s just a blessing to us,” Ernie Sena said. “It’s amazing because the doctors told us that she would never be active and would never move around.”
But the Senas are running into a problem. According to a lawsuit they’ve filed against the state, Haleigh’s Hope is in short supply in New Mexico.
Ultra Health is one of the largest marijuana producers in the state.
As a co-plaintiff in the case, Ultra Health says that marijuana producers like themselves can’t make enough of the oil because state rules don’t allow them to expand growing operations to produce the oil on a larger scale.
It’s explained in the lawsuit that, “producing Haleigh’s Hope requires a volume of cannabis plant material that is far greater than any other cannabis product.”
Currently, the state allows producers to grow 450 plants annually. The limit was raised last year from 150.
According to a top official at Ultra Health, most growers focus on regular THC plants instead of CBD plants, which is the plant that produces the oil used in Haleigh’s Hope.
Because of this, the Senas say they have to drive to Denver every month or so to get the cannabis oil that their daughter desperately needs.
“Nobody should have to travel out of state to get a medication,” Nicole Sena said.
Sena and Ultra Health tell Action 7 News that they hope their lawsuit gets the state to increase its growing limit so more cannabis oil like Haleigh’s Hope can be made.
The Department of Health sent a statement to Action 7 News that reads, “the New Mexico Department of Health’s primary goal is to ensure patients have safe, consistent access to medicine. There is currently no plan under consideration to raise the limit again. As 12 newly licensed producers get established there will be more medicine for patients.”
It continues saying, “Data shows the number of plants in production has doubled, yield has increased as well as the amount of product available for patients after all completed sales in second quarter.”