Sarah Ellett posted an uplifting video (below) on YouTube on Jan. 11 that documents her family's move from Utah to Oregon, where she legally treats her 4-year-old daughter, Remie, with whole-plant cannabis extract. But the back story of the move is far more dramatic than the video.
Ellett recently told The Free Thought Project how she fled Utah with her daughter only moments before the state was reportedly going to take the little girl away because of the cannabis treatment.
Ellett told the website that she used to be against cannabis, but changed her mind because she believes it has helped her daughter:
Remie can walk because cannabis took away her pain and helped her tone, making it so she can stand straight. She used to have ankle braces but no more. Cannabis stopped her nausea and helped her to tolerate food. It helped her to start chewing food and swallowing. It helped her to talk … each day she speaks a little more.
Ellett says her daughter has panhypopituitarism, which is when the pituitary gland fails to make the hormones that her body needs. This condition basically rendered Remie immobile.
While Utah did legalize high-CBD extracts for medicinal use in 2014, those extracts were -- and still are -- required to have a very low THC level, which didn't help Remie's condition.
Ellett got some whole-plant cannabis oil from a cancer patient in 2015, and tried treating Remie with small doses.
According to Ellett, her daughter's bronchial spasms that caused regular vomiting were soon under control, but the best moment would come three to four weeks later.
"I gave my daughter oil and at the age of 3 my daughter finally walked," Ellett recalled. "I came close to losing my daughter."
As her cannabis supply dwindled, Ellett drove to Colorado to obtain more. While the state legalized medical marijuana, Ellett couldn't buy any because she did not have a Colorado MMJ card.
According to Ellett, she ended up buying some bubble hash, and brought that home to make cannabis oil tinctures for her daughter.
Ellett later went up to Oregon, which doesn't have the same restrictions as Colorado when it comes to buying medical marijuana.
Toting Remie’s medical records with her, Ellett met with a doctor who specializes in treating people with medical marijuana and obtained what she needed.
Ellett started lobbying lawmakers in Utah about decriminalizing whole-plant cannabis for use as medical marijuana.
Republican state Sen. Mark Madsen wrote a medical marijuana bill, but it was narrowly defeated in March 2016.
Madsen was so upset that he announced he was leaving Utah for South America, noted The Salt Lake Tribune:
I've long since concluded that I desire more freedom in my individual life than I'm allowed to have in this state ... This state is not welcoming to people who want to live their lives and be free to make choices for themselves. There are a lot of people in this state who love to have people tell them what to do, and they've elected the right people to do that for them. These people will love to tell them what to do as much as possible. But not me, and that's why I'm not suited for this state.
A few months before the vote, in January 2016, Ellett was interviewed about medical marijuana on "The Thom Hartmann Program," a nationally syndicated radio show.
She recalled to The Free Thought Project how child protective services soon showed up at her home with copies of some of her Facebook postings:
After ["The Thom Hartmann Program"] the Utah Division of Child Family Services appeared at my door on Jan. 25, and with papers in hand they tried to question me, but I asked them to leave with my lawyer listening on the phone.
I then picked up the baby, left the milk on the table, checked the kids from school and left Utah while officers from all over the country were in full parade for 30 miles on the freeway to pay honor to a slain officer. In a way it was quite a dramatic and scary exit from Utah but I didn’t stop and we made it here.
I grabbed a box and threw in essentials such as meds and equipment and the kids’ clothes. I had to keep the car looking pretty cool and not as if we were leaving the state. The state car was parked outside my 11-year-old’s school and I checked her out before anyone could talk to her, telling the secretary we had a doctor appointment.
I acted like life was normal, and my daughter saw my face in the hall and we left as quickly as we could while trying to look like we were going to a doctor appt. But my daughter knew.
We had discussed this and I got all my kids in the car and I said, "Okay we talked about this before. Are you ready? Do you want to do this? If not I will take you to Dad’s house right now, but I have to go." The kids said they were ready and we left.