Marijuana and Autism: One candidate's choice in Wisconsin

Originally Submitted by Heather Sedlock on 2010-07-26 on

Jay Selthofner, a supporter of medicinal use of marijuana and of legalizing the drug, has been inspired to run for office in Wisconsin’s State Assembly for District 41. The inspiration comes in the form of Joey, a child with autism whose mother has successfully treated him with the use of marijuana and the subject of a book: Autism and Marijuana – A mother’s fight to save her son’s life – Joey’s story.

Mieko’s book, available on

Mr. Selthofner has been working steadily in his community to bring about change for medicinal uses of marijuana and legalizing its use. During this campaign, he first met Meiko, whose son was so severely impacted by autism, she resorted to a “street drug” to help him improve. “What did I have to lose?” she has said. She gives credit to marijuana for turning her son around and “saving his life.”

Mr. Selthofner says, “Being a parent myself, I could not imagine the doctor giving my child a death sentence and then watch the child starve to death. So from death, to a rebirth; development and growth, marijuana was credited as saving this boy’s life.” To be clear, it was not the autism itself that was a death sentence; rather, it was its effects on Joey. Joey could not eat foods that would keep him healthy and thriving. He was wasting away.

While there has been criticism, from the use of using a non-FDA-approved method of treatment to the phrasing chosen (“saving his life”) as it paints a negative view of autism, many parents are beginning to wonder if he or she should not give it a go as well. If a parent chooses this option, he or she should be aware: there are negative effects of this drug for some people. Please speak to a physician before starting any treatment regimen.

Mr. Selthofner says, “We face risks every day in our life. The punishment should not be worse than the crime, to enforce public health issues through the use of criminal law, is not a good idea, fundamentally. Marijuana is not for everyone, medical or recreational, but it certainly is not a crime. Alcohol, tobacco, over the counter and prescription drugs are proven to have a multitude of negative health effects that easily outweigh the effects of cannabis.”

Prior attempts to gain legislation support for marijuana used has failed in Wisconsin. “Major legislation opposition came from ‘slippery slope’ theory that medical would lead to full legalization. I have always been an advocate for full legalization of marijuana and will continue to do so.” But would he settle for just a medicinal use law? “The word ‘settle’ sometimes means something different to each person, but I would most likely vote yes for a medical bill, but keep pursuing reform.”

“A medical only bill does accomplish a great deal: [getting] medicine to those who need it… and [taking] those [individuals] off the battlefield we have come to accept as ‘the war on drugs.’” There is more information about the economic and other benefits to legalizing marijuana and can be found by clicking here.

For more information, Mr. Selthofner suggests the following websites:
Americans for Safe Access
Granny Crow’s List

And of course, (Editor’s Note)

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