Vail Valley third-grader helping lead Colorado measure to allow schools to provide prescribed medical marijuana
GYPSUM — Nine-year-old Quintin Lovato loves baseball. He wants to enjoy life normally, but his medical conditions are hurdles that he sometimes cannot get over without help.
Quintin, a third-grader from Gypsum, is living with epilepsy and Tourette’s syndrome. That means his family is, too.
The family found relief in a cannabis oil called Haleigh’s Hope. If Quintin takes it three times a day, as his doctor has prescribed, then his physical and vocal tics are vastly improved and his grand mal seizures largely disappear.
Quintin’s parents, Hannah and Ron Lovato, have four other children and must both work, Hannah Lovato said. They take care of Quintin’s morning and evening doses, but he sometimes misses his midday dose because he’s at school and they’re on the job.
Access to medicine
If the proposed Quintin’s Amendment becomes state law, then school nurses would be allowed to administer medical marijuana to kids such as Quintin.
State Rep. Dylan Roberts, D-Eagle, introduced Quintin’s Amendment last week, to be added to Jack’s Law, named for Jack Splitt. That 2016 law ensured children with debilitating medical conditions who use medicinal marijuana would have access to their medicine during school and school-related activities.
Right now, though, a parent or caregiver must come to school to administer the medically required dose. That’s often impossible for Quintin’s parents. Quintin’s Amendment would allow school nurses to do it.
“Medical marijuana has changed my son’s life for the better,” Hannah Lovato said. “He’s able to live like a ‘normal’ kid again. He’s happy, he’s sleeping better, he smiles, he’s made friends, he doesn’t feel like an outcast, he doesn’t feel sick, his motor tics and seizures have improved, and he’s able to show the world who Q really is now. If Quintin’s Amendment can make even one more kid feel this way, it’s all worth it. That’s why we are doing this.”
‘We have our son back’
Roberts is a Lovato family friend, Hannah Lovato said. Not so long ago, he asked what he could do to help them. It would be great if Quintin could bring his medication to school and a school nurse or someone the family designated could give it to Quintin, they told him.
“The ability for school nurses to administer physician-recommended medical marijuana, just like all other medications, will mean that students will have guaranteed access to their medication during the school day and that parents do not have to take time off of work, drive across town and pull their child out of the classroom to administer the medicine,” Roberts said.
Quintin’s Amendment would also allow a child to receive an emergency or “rescue” dose in a time frame that could help keep the child out of the emergency room.
“The cannabis oil Quintin is on has changed his life. It has changed our whole family’s life. We have our son back,” Hannah Lovato said. “He’s not seizure-free, but we have made great strides.”
If Quintin could receive a dose at school, then it could mean the difference between still having seizures and being seizure-free, Hannah Lovato said.
“Seizure-free with little to no side effects is the ultimate goal. We are so close,” Hannah Lovato said.
Hannah and Quintin are scheduled to testifying at 1:30 p.m. Thursday, March 29, before the House Health Committee.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and firstname.lastname@example.org.