JANESVILLE (AP) | The parents of a toddler with a seizure disorder have run out of options to help their daughter, so they’re turning to medical marijuana.

Maggie Selmeski began having seizures at 6 weeks old. She continues, at 17 months, to have seizures daily, said her mother, Rachael Selmeski. Doctors say Maggie has infantile spasms, a specific type of seizure disorder. Four anti-seizure medications haven’t worked.

Her parents felt helpless until they saw a CNN documentary about marijuana, “Weed.”

In it, they saw children like Maggie whose seizures were significantly reduced by medical marijuana.

“It just was like a light bulb,” Rachael Selmeski, who is temporarily living with her mother in Janesville, told KWWL television. “We’re like, ‘Yep, this is what we’ve got to do.’ “

The family is preparing to move to Colorado to access to medical marijuana, which has low levels of THC, the chemical that makes people high.

“So she won’t be getting high; she won’t be smoking it,” Selmeski said.

“It’ll just be an oil. I’ll give it to her just like I do any of her other supplements or medications,” Selmeski said.

The seizures have slowed Maggie’s development. At 17 months, she still can’t hold her head up and has the brain development of a 3-month-old infant. Her parents hope that the treatment will reduce her seizures and unlock the girl they say is trapped inside.

“We’re so excited to just meet Maggie, and have her little personality come out and shine,” Selmeski said. “Seeing her not be able to interact, watching other kids play, and not have your daughter be able to play ... if you start to experience that, then you might realize that there are other options out there,” Selmeski said. “You would try anything for your child to give her a better life.”

Maggie is on a waiting list in Colorado and should start the treatment in mid-November.

Her mother said she hopes marijuana laws change because once Maggie starts the treatment, they’ll be stuck in Colorado, far from their family in Iowa.

Families of children with severe medical problems are moving to Colorado from all over the country to get the oil that appears to be working. They call themselves marijuana refugees.

Colorado voters passed an amendment in November 2000 permitting the use of medical marijuana with a doctor’s consent.

See MARIJUANA, page A6

Families call themselves

marijuana refugees

(10) comments


it's God's medicine, only agents of Lucifer stand in the path...


this makes me so angry. no parent should force marijuana on am innocent child who has no say. medical marijuana is such a joke.


I think most of us parents would do whatever it took to make sure our children did not suffer
Google " Cannabidiol " marijuana isn't all about the THC part.


You should be a lot more worried about Ritalin, Adderal, amphetamine salts, and other intense narcotics being pushed on our children by big pharma. These drugs are seriously dangerous, and not really different than stimulants you can buy off the street. You should also be a lot more worried about giving your child an asprin, because asprin kills a lot of people and marijuana kills no people. I abstain from substance use in general, including alcohol because I am a Buddhist, but I also believe that if something is legitimate medicine then it should not be subject to hysterical persecution. The science is there to show it is probably the single safest drug in the history of medicine, and it is a powerful anti-seizure medicine. Should these parents let their child die of seizures because you have a gut feeling that this is wrong?

Lita Wester

Actually they have it here but it's in capsule form in a sesame oil base. I used it for years for different aspects of fibromyalgia and it does do a very good job with nervous
diseases which include nerve pain and restless leg syndrome.


Maggie's father is neither shown nor quoted. What are his feelings about moving to Colorado to pursue this course of "treatment"? Is this related to Dravet's Syndrome?


Marijuana should be treated as any other drug. Tested for safety and effectiveness and prescribed as needed for specific medical conditions for which it is proven to be helpful. There are already a lot of prescription drugs out there that people abuse and can get addicted to. There are controls in place that try to manage that.


Correct me if I'm wrong.....but I recall reading that it was legalized medically in Illinois a few months ago. That is only a few hour drive.


you are correct, for aids, cancer etc. very strict and you have to be a resident. so they would still have to move out of state. 2nd Victor, maybe he wasn't shown or quoted because he had nothing to add and the mother is more then adequate to speak. also on the news the father was there.

legalize it, tax it and get us out of the deficit. spend billions in enforcement, that does nothing all the government is doing is stopping the " commercial" weed from getting here. the good weed is grown in the US and shipped within the US. why can't we be proactive with something instead of reactive


As a cancer survivor and someone that deals with daily pain and discomfort. I am prescribed and take pain medication which is a narcotic daily. I do not understand why we in Iowa are waiting to legalize Marijuana?? C'mon Iowa wake up!!

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