6-year-old Newton County boy at center of medical marijuana fight dies

by: Richard Elliot Updated:

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NEWTON COUNTY, Ga. - A 6-year old boy at the center of the political fight to legalize medical marijuana died early Monday morning, and his mother wonders if passage of the bill might have saved his life.

Abe Hopkins died as his family returned home from a medical conference in Chicago.  Mike and Kelli Hopkins had just stopped in Covington to drop off their child care volunteer when Kelli noticed Abe wasn't breathing.

"When we were getting her bags out, Abe was turning blue around his lips," said Kelli Hopkins.  "I told Mike that Abe wasn't breathing, and he hollered to call 911.  I handed Abe to Mike and he took him inside our friend's home and started doing CPR on him.  Everybody came within seconds, the police, EMT's, fire rescue all came and started working on him."

Abe suffered from a number of ailments including dozens of seizures every day. His older sisters Mary Elizabeth and Michala suffer from other ailments, but also endure seizures every day.  Kelli said Abe's seizures were so bad, they often caused him respiratory distress.  She believes he had another seizure in the car and possibly choked to death.

"If we could've taken the trip and ridden home without seizures, he wouldn't be gone today," she said.

SPECIAL SECTION: Medical Marijuana Debate in Georgia

The Hopkins were among other parents who lobbied the Georgia General Assembly for passage of a medical marijuana law. 

They believe cannabis oil extracted from marijuana plants and administered orally can reduce the number of those seizures and make their children's lives more livable.  The bill got caught up in House and Senate politics and failed to pass just minutes before the end of the session.  Kelli wonders if the bill had passed and medical marijuana had become available in Georgia that her son might not have died.

"It wouldn't have been easy, but obviously now that would've been something that possibly could've really helped Abe and possibly saved his life," said Kelli.

The Hopkins plan to be back at the State Capitol next year to push even harder for passage of a Medical Marijuana bill.  They think legalizing the Cannabis Oil will help improve their daughters' lives.


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