I’m Only 16 and Here’s Why Arkansas Needs Medical Cannabis

My name is Coltyn Turner. I am 16 years old and I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease when I was 11-years-old. I was on pharmaceutical after pharmaceutical which made more problems than they solved; if any.

If I am put on another pharmaceutical my chances for developing T-cell lymphoma increase by 66%. I also have rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and lupus. But everyday I wake up with a smile. Let me tell you why…

My Parents Took a Leap of Faith

In 2014, my father and I left my family and we traveled from our home in Illinois to Colorado in search of medical cannabis. This was a desperate attempt to manage my Crohn’s and RA and medically induced Lupus. By this time I was wheelchair bound, in constant pain, covered in a rash, and constantly in the bathroom.

Immediately after starting my cannabis treatment all my symptoms were gone. I was growing again and gaining weight, I was even able to leave my wheelchair!

Only seven months after starting my cannabis treatment, I had a colonoscopy to see if the 22 cm of inflamed bowel was still there. It was all gone and I had achieved clinical remission! Let me repeat that… I HAD ACHIEVED CLINICAL REMISSION!


I am now a legal medical cannabis patient and my family moved to Colorado. We’re known as medical cannabis refugees. It’s because we can’t leave Colorado. My medicine is illegal in half the country. I can’t hang out with my best friends in Illinois, I can’t play where I grew up, I can’t visit my family in Arkansas. This has to change; fast.

But there is hope, if Issue 7 passes in Arkansas this year, I will be able to visit my uncle and my friends in Arkansas. Ever since I ditched my wheelchair I’ve been an avid hiker. I hear Arkansas has some beautiful places to hike. I can’t wait to come explore.

I encourage everyone in Arkansas to vote yes on Issue 7, The Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act, because without it kids like me wouldn’t be able to receive the treatment they need.

I Am Watching What’s Happening in Arkansas

I watched a press conference on Youtube where Governor Asa Hutchinson and the Arkansas Surgeon General said marijuana is not medicine and that it is not safe. I am living proof that what the Governor and the medical professionals said was uneducated, false, and offensive to sick and dying folks in Arkansas.

Plus, I heard Hutchinson actually said “patients ought to be able to get that” when speaking about medical marijuana in 2011. At least that’s what I read.


Now, fast-forward to 2016 and there are TWO medical cannabis initiatives being presented to Arkansas voters on November 8th and the Governor is so against medical marijuana that he has donated $10,000 dollars to fight it. That’s a despicable way of pandering for votes or support in 2011.

Now, he holds press conference to spread “reefer madness” despite the fact that medical cannabis has been proven to be safe and effective for those with cancer, epilepsy, PTSD, Crohn’s, colitis, ALS, and Parkinsons just to name a few.

Furthermore, the Arkansas Surgeon General should know that what’s best for the patient should only be up to the patient and their physician. My doctor says medical cannabis is safe and effective for me!

A Disgrace To The White Coat

The information I received from Dr. Gregory Bledsoe, felt hypocritical. He said that “marijuana, the plant” has no benefits while at the same time saying “some” cannabinoids like CBD and THC can be beneficial.


I have spoken face-to-face with more doctors than I can count about how whole-plant cannabis is far more effective than synthesized cannabinoids. It’s called the entourage effect and I learned about it from Dr. Sanjay Gupta while watching CNN with my family.

The fact that these mis-informed doctors claim cannabis causes psychiatric diseases and that you become dependent, is absolutely ludicrous. I depend on it. Not as an addict but as a patient that depends on his medicine to survive. And while we’re at it, NEVER in recorded history has anyone ever died from a “cannabis overdose”.

While I agree with the concern of pesticides in cannabis, this only happens when cannabis is grown poorly and in an unsanitary environment. The only thing unsafe about this plant is getting caught with it outside of legal states.

It’s Called Responsible Use of Medicine

I’m 16-years old and yes, one day soon I will be driving. So, let’s talk about the Governor’s concern of “stoned drivers”. Let’s be very clear here… motor vehicle crashes are not at fault to the cannabis but are at fault to the irresponsible driver that choses to drive while impaired.

I use cannabis four times a day, every day and it has never once impaired my cognitive abilities in the two and a half years I’ve used it.

The Governor’s panel said that cannabis edibles look like candy and that is why they’re bad. Well, if you don’t like that edibles look like candy then perhaps regulating the appearance of cannabis edibles would create a fair compromise for patients. From what I’ve read, Issue 7 rules and regulations will be created by the Arkansas State Health Department. I think they are smart enough to figure it out… if not, they can call me and I can advise them on what safety looks like.

Arkansans Won’t Take The Bait

I can’t end without talking about Dr. Rick Smith’s claims against cannabis. Dr. Smith has no scientific proof or backing when stating a common misconception that “cannabis is a gateway drug” which has been proven for decades to not be the case. In fact, heroin and pain killer addicts use cannabis to lose their addiction and helps with their withdrawal effects.

Finally, a study published by the Lancet Psychiatry showed no significant difference in adolescent cannabis use in legal medical states from year to year.


It saddens me that Arkansans must listen to a 16 year old child for the truth rather than medical professionals who use fear tactics to push their own agendas. And yes, if that’s what it takes I’m more than happy to be the voice for illegally healed patients.

This 16-Year-Old Wins The Medical Cannabis Debate Once and For…Pediatric medical cannabis patient shows off his real smarts: “I AM NOT A PROP!”
Does this give anyone else chills? LIKE & SHARE!
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Posted by Illegally Healed on Friday, September 23, 2016

Feature Image: Instagram / Angela Bacca

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About the Author

Coltyn Turner

Coltyn loves his family, friends, and is pretty good at video games. Oh, and he also advocates for safe access to medical cannabis.

Comments 3

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