Do People Move to Access Legal Marijuana? Yes — Meet 'Medical Refugees.'

By Juliet Bennet Rylah for Weedmaps News

According to American Medical Refugees board member Sebastien Cotte, the organization helped about 400 families in some way midway through 2018, up from about 150 two years earlier, according to media reports. These families had moved to Colorado from more than 35 states and three countries. 

Cotte and his wife Annett know well what these families face. Their son, Jagger, has Leigh syndrome, a neurometabolic disorder that manifests in seizures, muscle pain, difficulty breathing, and other symptoms. Cotte became interested in cannabis as a possible treatment for his son in 2013, after seeing “Weed,” Dr. Sanjay Gupta's documentary about medical cannabis, on CNN. He connected with other parents in Georgia through medical cannabis advocacy organization Americans for Safe Access, but their initial attempts to pass a bill legalizing medical marijuana in Georgia failed. In 2014, Cotte's family decided to move to Colorado. They were one of 17 families to leave Georgia at that time, many of them receiving financial aid from Republican state Rep. Allen Peake.