Former Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco died August 18; she had been suffering from ocular melanoma.
Whether or not one agrees with her politics, pretty much everyone will concede that Governor Blanco was a class act. She was always gracious and kind, and her love for the state of Louisiana was never questioned. She caught a lot of heat during Hurricane Katrina, but no one ever questioned her love of the state or the city of New Orleans.
Last week The Advocate reports that toward the last days of her life Governor Blanco turned to medical marijuana for relief from the pain of her advanced disease.
Medical marijuana was made legal in Louisiana in the 1970s but it took until 2019 for all of the loopholes, regulation, and proper framework to be put in place. Now the drug is distributed as an oil by nine pharmacies throughout the state. It is legal in about thirty-three states in the U.S.
In July 2019, Blanco entered hospice care and by August was receiving medical marijuana. The drug was immediately effective on her and relieved her from the blackouts that she had from morphine. Her family insists that the oil returned a valuable quality of life to Blanco’s last days.
From The Advocate:
Blanco-Hartfield [Blanco’s daughter], put half a milliliter of oil under her mother’s tongue. “Within 60 seconds, her whole body relaxed,” Blanco-Hartfield said. “She smiled and a peacefulness came over her. It was amazing.”
The following day, Blanco-Hartfield gave her mother a mixture of two milligrams of crushed methadone that had been dissolved with a peppermint into water and half a milliliter of marijuana oil.
“All she had to do was let it go down her throat,” Blanco-Hartfield said. “By that night, she was smiling, eating, laughing and drinking. She could speak one-word commands. We never imagined we’d see that again. It made all the difference in the world that she no longer had to take the morphine.”
According to the family, Governor Blanco was able to rest comfortable, eat, and participate in important family events in her last days, and they believe that if the drug had been available sooner, Blanco may have even lived longer.
The drug remains very expensive, but if it does in fact provide such relief to terminal and to suffering patients, certainly it should be accessible.
Link to The Advocate story: https://www.theadvocate.com/baton_rouge/news/politics/article_1a4e44be-cb6a-11e9-8292-fb567939e0f0.html