Last week’s Special Needs Ability Program (SNAP) meeting, with its theme of teaching people about the benefits of medical marijuana for disabled children, was “packed, wall to wall,” said founder Jamie Grover.
So they did it again this week.
On Thursday evening at around 6 p.m., people began milling into the Holy Cross Church off State Road 46. With its bright pastel colors and educational posters for children, it looks like an area fit to learn in.
The people come from as far away as Deltona or Lake County, and some from right here in Sanford. The program is well known because it started in DeLand and recently moved to Sanford.
Thursday’s event saw Dr. Jennifer Norton of The Annex in Longwood giving a presentation. The Annex is a newly opened clinic focusing only on medical marijuana issues.
Due to a storm brewing to the west and a bad traffic crash on State Road 46, people were coming in late, and so Grover postponed the event’s beginning.
That gave people the time to mingle and talk among one another. They had all come for similar reasons: children in need of better, alternative ideas to help with various special needs. People with children suffering from severe kinds of autism, ADHD, anxiety and seizures, among other things, found common ground. They all just wanted a better solution.
“My son has autism,” said Deltona resident Dan Stevenson. “He has a lot of anxiety. [Medical marijuana] could help him sleep at night. I had no idea there were all these different products. I’m thankful it became legal.”
“I’ve been an advocate for legalizing marijuana since the 80s,” said Deland resident Merine Chandler. “My question tonight is how to qualify for medical marijuana. Do I do it over the counter or do I have to have a prescription?”
Norton’s presentation focused on detailed facts about the various strains of marijuana and how to get it. She said she thought the legalization in 2016 was a big step forward. And despite the resistance in the legislature, she said she believed Florida would come around in time.
“Nothing happens overnight,” she told the Sanford Herald. “We have to be patient.”
Grover called the presentation a success and spoke of his own path to accepting the benefits of medical marijuana.
“My generation, I grew up on a farm,” he said. “I was taught that weed was a gateway to becoming a drug addict. Alcohol was fine, but if you smoke pot, you’re a failure. And I thought, I don’t want a bus driver getting high and driving around with a bunch of kids.”
But his son, now 30 years old, was on the autism spectrum and his medicine wasn’t having the desired effect. So Grover ended up educating himself about medical benefits of marijuana and eventually found that it helped.
“I got a phone call today, a guy who was very angry, calling us all drug pushers for doing this class,” Grover said. “He was very closed-minded. B80ut that’s the exact type of person we need to reach.”
Education, he said, was the key.
Those interested in learning more can contact The Annex at 844-843-2663 or SNAP at 800-816-5235.
SNAP is the largest parent support group in Central Florida. They meet bi-weekly on Thursday nights.