Charlotte Figi, 6, has suffered with Dravet Syndrome since she was 3 months old. This rare diagnosis is a severe form of epilepsy that elongates and increases the amount of seizures in patients. Only 50,000 people in the United States are diagnosed. Charlotte was tormented with approximately 300 seizures a week, according to CNN.

A special form of marijuana low in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and high in cannabidiol (CBD) drastically decreased seizures for Charlotte. She takes two doses of the oil extracted from the plant a day. Her seizures went from an average of 43 times a day to two or three times a month. This special variety, now grown in Colorado, is called Charlotte’s Web.

When a substance can be viewed as destructive but also needed for medical reasons, the government needs to take a knee. Making cannabis legal is not a license allowing the substance for leisure use; it will help the circumstances where this treatment is necessary.

Misguided minds that think the legalization of marijuana will induce a free–for–all are mistaken. Many laws and regulations will be passed to minimize open consumption and a state registration system is in place even for medicinal use. Instances where remedial use is not permitted because of a law are asinine.

Marinol – capsule dosage of marijuana – is legal in the United States and can be prescribed under extreme caution. The risks that are associated with this medication outweigh the benefits due to the amount of THC that causes psychoactive effects. THC consequences range from memory loss to hallucinations, according to Livestrong.com.

Charlotte’s Web, due to it’s unique chemical makeup, is modified to decrease this ingredient. This change is healthier from a mental standpoint for anyone requiring the daily use of marijuana.

If the mentally or physically impaired benefit from this substance, then they can just vote to change it, right? The answer is clear if you know state laws. In the end, who gets to vote boils down to two main concerns: felonies and mental competence.

A felony is a serious crime such as a murder. Mental or cognitive impairment has a very broad definition. The main clinical diagnoses are autism, Down Syndrome, traumatic brain injury and dementia, according to WebAIM.org. Less severe conditions range from Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) to dyslexia.

Out of 50 states, 44 have statutes and laws in place that do not allow citizens with cognitive impairment the right to vote. The office of the Secretary of State website explains these limitations: “Under the law, only a state court may declare a person mentally incompetent and therefore unable to exercise the right to vote. These decisions are made on a case-by-case basis by a Superior Court judge.”

The punishment if a person is deemed mentally incompetent by the state and is registered to vote includes a class C felony, five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

The government has stated unfavorable lifestyle, addiction and a lack of accepted medical use for their reasoning on labeling marijuana as an illegal substance. The argument surrounding addiction is at a standstill in the government.

The White House official website claims, “In 2011, approximately 4.2 million people met the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) diagnostic criteria for marijuana abuse or dependence.”

The Drug Policy Alliance states, “According to federal data, marijuana treatment admissions referred by the criminal justice system rose from 48 percent in 1992 to 58 percent in 2006. Just 45 percent of marijuana admissions met the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders criteria for marijuana dependence. More than a third hadn’t used marijuana in the 30 days prior to admission for treatment.”

Legalization nation wide is still an ongoing issue, but states are taking the law into their own hands. Washington and Colorado have made the substance legal and several others have decriminalized possession as well.

The only true solution is to vote. Be aware of the decisions that are being made by our government. Make sure that your voice and your opinion are heard. That is the idea a democracy is based on. My upbringing does strongly push toward conservative ideals. However, when it comes to the welfare of others, I will stand by the thousands who the government won’t let speak on their own.