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Georgia Parents Reunited With Epileptic Son After Medical Marijuana Arrest

David Brill was released from a state group home on Monday after police separated his family for using medical cannabis to treat David’s epilepsy.

by Zach Harris

Photo via iStock/ Sezeryadigar

A juvenile court judge in Twiggs County, Georgia ended more than a month of suffering for epileptic teenager David Brill and his parents, Suzeanna and Matthew, by releasing David from state custody on Monday.

In May, after smoking medical marijuana helped David reach an unprecedented 71 days without a seizure, the 15-year-old’s therapist alerted authorities about the controversial treatment, and David was taken to a state-run group home while his parents were arrested on counts of reckless conduct.

On Monday, David sent his mom a text message telling her that he would see her soon: “I’m coming home, with an exclamation point.”

According to CBS affiliate WMAZ, the ACLU filed a brief on Friday, June 29th, to bring David out of foster care, leading Judge Sam Hillburn granted a 12-month “protective order” to reunite the family on Monday. As a condition of the court order, David and his mother must check in with state officials twice a month and submit to regular drug tests.

“Anxiety was building this morning because I didn’t know what the judge was going to say, but as soon as he said that he agreed with [the Department of Child and Family Service]’s recommendation for [David] to come home, I melted,” Suzeanna Brill told WMAZ.

Medical marijuana has been legal in Georgia since 2015, but the Peach State program is extremely restrictive. While low-THC cannabis oils are approved for ailments like David’s, marijuana growers, manufacturers, extractors and dispensaries are still banned from operating in the state — leaving patients to smuggle their medication back from out of state, or purchase untested products over the internet or from the black market.

David Brill will still need to submit regular drug screenings, but his family is hopeful that Epidiolex, the country’s first FDA-approved CBD medication, could be the life saver they’ve been looking for.

Granted government approval just last week, Epidiolex is poised to bring the benefits of non-psychoactive CBD out of dispensaries and health food stores and into traditional pharmacies. Joining the Brill family at their recent juvenile court hearing, Atlanta private practice doctor Rasean Hodge told Judge Hillburn that Epidiolex could assure David’s quality of life without breaking any state or federal laws. In May, the Brills had said that they would try their hardest to move David to a state where medical marijuana treatment is accepted.

"We don't need any medical marijuana refugees to leave our state. That's just another family being torn apart," Hodge said.

Judge Hillburn will review the Brill family case again in December, where he may consider closing it altogether.


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Zach Harris is a writer based in Philadelphia whose work has appeared on Noisey, First We Feast, and Jenkem Magazine. You can find him on Twitter @10000youtubes complaining about NBA referees.



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