COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (RNS) Four years ago, an evangelical Christian family entered Colorado’s booming medical marijuana marketplace and developed an extract called Charlotte’s Web.
The Stanley brothers, all six of whom attended Colorado Springs Christian School, saw God’s hand at work when some local parents found that giving the dark oil to their epileptic children ended their violent seizures.
“That’s when it really sank in,” said Joel Stanley, the eldest of the brothers. “This is not a fluke. This is not going away. There is a purpose to everything under the sun, including the marijuana plant.”
Word got out, and over the next year and a half, more than 500 families relocated to Colorado. These “medical refugees” strained family bonds and budgets to give their kids Charlotte’s Web, not available legally in many states.
As the successes mounted, Stanley said, “it was a transformation for me, and I was angry that I had been told marijuana was evil and of no medical benefit. At that point, it was very easy for me to reconcile marijuana with my Christian faith.”
The Stanleys, along with two of the initial parents, Paige Figi and Heather Jackson, founded a nonprofit called Realm of Caring to help the relocated families. Most of Realm’s $600,000-plus annual budget is funded with profits from the family business, CW Botanicals.
The morality of marijuana
Serving medical refugees wasn’t enough. Jackson and Figi decided to help parents change laws in their home states so everyone could return home with the extract. Before they knew it, these pioneering marijuana moms had helped change laws in 19 states in 18 months: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming. Idaho’s governor vetoed the bill there.
Jackson, who said her Christian faith is everything to her (it’s “the pie, not a piece of pie,” she said), talked to her minister as she wrestled with the morality of marijuana. “I’m a byproduct of the 1980s and ‘Just Say No,’ so I grew up thinking this was evil,” she said.
Stacey Mobley, minister of the church of Christ of Colorado Springs, an independent, Bible-based congregation, said members support Jackson’s work.
“God made the plant, and said in Genesis 1:31 that everything he made was very good,” said Mobley, who opposes recreational marijuana. “We are firsthand witnesses of its benefits in the providential healing of Zaki, and I believe Heather is driven by obligation because she is a Christian to do good to all.”