‘Faces of Cannabis’ puts kids at forefront of push to change laws

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Some call it a miraculous extract, but not every state is on board with the idea of using cannabis oil to treat children with epilepsy.

A photographer who is on a mission to change the way people see the drug was in Utah Wednesday. It's a photography project aimed a raising national awareness about cannabis oil and the faces of the drug happen to be children suffering from a debilitating disease.

"I started this project over a year ago," says Nichole Montanez, the photographer who came up with "Faces of Cannabis."

"I've been to five different states, six including Colorado and after today, photographed probably 150 kids," Montanez said.

She's photographed many children and connected parents to each other.

"When nothing else works, you have to do everything you can for your child," said Angie Mathews, whose son has epilepsy.

She and other Utah parents are part of the portrait project, which is helping change how the public perceives cannabis.

"I think the main goal is to put a new face to medical cannabis and put the children on the forefront and remind people why this is important and why we're doing it," Montanez said. "These are children. They're children just like your children or my children, and they deserve a chance."

In many states, it's illegal for parents to possess cannabis oil, which is used to treat children with epileptic seizures. But thanks to recently passed legislation in Utah called Charlee's law, families aren't forced to uproot their lives in search of treatment.

"He has had seizures since he was 2 months old, it's a progressive epilepsy that is very resistant to medication," said Marina Alexandrescu, whose son suffers from seizures.

For mothers like Marina, cannabis oil has been a blessing.

"When I found out about it, I was very excited from the beginning," she said.

But not everyone has easy access. Mothers like Angie are still waiting. It could be another six months before her son can start using cannabis oil.

"The prognosis for him, without the cannabis oil, without giving it a shot is grim," she said. "It's not good. It's life-threatening and he could die from it."

The organization Hope 4 Children with Epilepsy helped host Wednesday's portrait project "Faces of Cannabis." The pictures will be displayed on a website with the children's stories and the project will be used to lobby legislation and raise awareness not just among the public but also lawmakers about the benefits of cannabis oil.

Click here to visit the website.

Hope 4 Children said they will be joining forces with other organizations across the country to lobby for Charlotte's Web Medical Hemp Act, which is a federal bill proposing to remove cannabis oil and therapeutic hemp from the list of controlled substances.


  • Rita Brown

    Love Nichole Montanez for her dedication to our children and spreading awareness. “Face of Cannabis” project is simply beautiful!

  • Bimmers4Life

    What a beautiful bunch of kids! I hope that soon every state can jump on board with the use of cannabis oil for these children. there are SO many benefits and more are being discovered all of the time.

  • Jolene

    I lost my daughter to an epilepsy related incident in 2007. The only time she did not have seizures was when she was able to use marijuana. But it wasn’t even up for legal consideration at that time. Her death left 2 children without a mother. Shame on our lawmakers for not seeing the benefits of a miracle.

  • Dave K

    There are some things that are more important than man’s law: “Breaking the law is necessary to prevent a harm worse than the one the law is aimed at preventing,” said Amy Lou Fawell, president of Mothers Advocating Medical Marijuana for Autism. “Legally speaking, it’s what you call a necessity defense. What’s criminal is to withhold this God-given plant from children who are sick, suffering, and dying.” When the barbarians in Utah finally understand that this plant does more than to make people feel happy there may be some hope. Unfortunately, most of the people in authority there spend more time listening to the voices in their heads rather than to examine the actual evidence that this is indeed an incredible medicine.

  • Truth2Tell

    Utah is always way behind the rest of the world in most anything. That is what happens when you have a nanny church controlling the state. Separation of church and state???? Never in Utah.

  • David Whittington

    Cannabis is a SAFE medicine. Let me say this again – Cannabis is a SAFE medicine. Let me say this one more time – Cannabis is a SAFE medicine – and I know this from direct experience. Cannabis has been consumed by humans for over 5,000 years. Cannabis has NEVER directly killed ANYONE – the few deaths continually ascribed to Cannabis use are auto accidents – and operators of automobiles should NOT consume Cannabis. Cannabis is now completely legal in Colorado and Washington state and Washington D.C. and many other states. It is inevitable Cannabis will be completely legal in ALL 50 states – and of course Utah will be the LAST state to legalize Cannabis because Utah thinking is still stuck in the 19th century. It is incredibly sad Utah mothers of epileptic children cannot get cannabis oil for their suffering children – but a ray of hope in the middle of all this suffering is Denver is just a 500 mile road trip away !

    • my2cents

      David it IS Legal to use Cannabis oil for Seizures in the state of Utah thanks to recent legislation. I think you may have missed that part. . .

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