Debbie Jeffries and Medical Marijuana for Children
On March 6, 2002, the CBS show "48 Hours" included a segment entitled "Is It A Crime" in which reporter Harold Dow interviewed Debbie Jeffries of Rocklin, California.
The episode filmed Ms. Jeffries baking marijuana for her 8-year-old son Jeff. She informed the audience that her son was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, conduct disorder, intermittent explosive disorder, bipolar disorder, and "any disorder that you can think of - mental illness."
She continued that she's had to call the police, had woken up to a knife "in my back" and that Jeff "used to stab the dogs next door." She also stated that "the teachers were afraid of Jeffrey. He picked up a desk and threw it at a teacher."
Harold Dow reported that Jeff has been in residential treatment programs twice, and has so far seen 16 doctors.
Ms. Jeffries discussed medication, stating that Jeffrey has been on Ritalin, Adderall, clozapine, Guanfacine, Clonazepam, risperidone, Risperdal, Seroquel, and that "nothing was working."
Health officials, Dow reported, then threatened to take custody of Jeff away from his mother if his behavior did not change "in 30 days."
It was at that point, Ms. Jeffries stated, that she discovered a theory on the internet that "marijuana calms the brain." This led her to pediatrician Mike Alkalay, who was also interviewed for this segment.
Dr. Alkalay described marijuana as "a wonder drug." He also told the reporter, "It's a very safe medicine."
Ms. Jeffries stated that she could discern a difference in her son "within a half-hour" of his first trying medical marijuana. "I looked over at Jeffrey and he just had this smile about it and this glow. And he says, 'Mommy, I feel happy.' And that's the first time that he's ever said that."
But Child Protective Services, continued the segment, then took Ms. Jeffries to court, accusing her of being an "unfit mom", and requesting that the judge order her to stop giving Jeff medical marijuana.
The segment then asked the audience to vote; "What do you think?" the announcer asked. "Should Debbie be allowed to keep giving her eight-year-old son medical marijuana? Log on and vote now at cbs.com."
(The Vote by the Viewing Audience was 86% in favor of Ms. Jeffries being permitted to continue giving Jeff medical marijuana, and 11% against her being permitted to continue.)