Margarita’s 13-year-old son, Carlos, usually sits in a wheelchair. He suffered a cardiac arrest just after birth and was diagnosed with near loss of brain function. Since then, Margarita has dedicated herself to taking care of him, becoming well acquainted with his frequent epileptic seizures and spending thousands of dollars on hospitalizations.
Margarita lives in an apartment near the center of Mexico City with the signatures of a modest middle-class life there: a spacious living room, a balcony, plenty of room for her family of four. But when it comes to medical care, “in this country,” she said, “only rich people can afford to get sick.”
The high cost of her son’s medical care is one reason why early last year, Margarita started giving Carlos something she got on the black market: oil extracted from marijuana. A container about the size of an eye drop bottle containing the oil cost her about $35. He now seems more connected and the seizures seem to have eased, she said.
What Margarita is doing is still illegal in Mexico, which is why we are not using her full name. But the legal sale of marijuana has picked up momentum this year not only in the U.S. but also in some Latin American countries. Uruguay has just started allowing marijuana sales in drug stores. And now Mexico, which has seen tens of thousands of deaths in its war against drug traffickers, is taking steps to legalize medical marijuana. [Read more at New Orleans Public Radio]