JEFFERSONVILLE, GA. —
When Georgia authorities found out that smoking marijuana was ridding 15-year-old David Ray of seizures that had plagued him through childhood, the consequences were swift and severe.
His mother and stepfather — Suzeanna and Matthew Brill — were arrested and jailed for six days. David, no longer able to medicate with pot, was hospitalized for a week after suffering what his mother called “the worst seizure of his life.” He was then discharged to strangers and sent to a Division of Family and Children Services group home after his parents were stripped of custody — another example of “how the war on drugs breaks up families,” said Lauren Deal, Suzeanna Brill’s attorney.
On Monday, some nine weeks later, the Brills finally got their son back after a judge granted a protective order agreed upon by his parents and DFCS. A victory for the Brill family, but in the larger battle over Georgia’s war against weed, it’s unlikely to register, according to one activist.
“This story went worldwide. The family collected more than $60,000 in donations on their GoFundMe page,” said Tom McCain, executive director of Peachtree NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws). “It changed their lives. Whether it has any effect on changing Georgia laws, I doubt it.”
For as much as David’s story resonated with a public that, according to a recent poll commissioned by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, overwhelmingly favors expanding Georgia’s medical marijuana program, the powers that be remain squarely opposed to further moves to loosen the law.