Cash Hyde lived half of his life with a feeding tube surgically attached to his stomach. And about half of his life was spent in hospitals -- including a 49-day coma -- after a diagnosis with brain cancer. It was that cancer which claimed his life Wednesday night; he had beaten it twice, but after two full remissions, its third appearance was too much. He died in his father's arms at the family home in Missoula, Mont.
medicine was cannabis, which Mike Hyde administered to his son at the
risk of federal and state prison terms.
Cash's story had made national news, with outlets flying to Missoula to interview the family and film Cash taking his illegal "medicine." By the time of his death, it was estimated that he was Montana's youngest medical marijuana card-holder. Along with chemotherapy and radiation -- as well as brain surgery when he was 2 years old -- cannabis was a key component of his cancer treatment: the medical marijuana helped him sleep and helped him eat, Mike Hyde said. The situation was among the first highly publicized instances of a young child receiving relief from cannabis.
Cash died Wednesday shortly before 10 p.m., according to John Malanca, a Northern California resident who also owns a home in Montana and is authorized to speak on behalf of the Hyde family.
Authorities in Missoula have apologized for police's handling of the death -- apparently police and coroner's officials showed up to the house following a call to the boy's social worker from Mike Hyde, who has since posted on Facebook blasting police's "cocky" and "rude" behavior in "investigating" the boy's death.
But more at fault are the 2011 "revisions" to Montana's medical marijuana laws, Malanca said.
S.B. 423 reduced the amount of plants a qualified patient could possess to four, and the total amount of medicine allowed to 1 ounce. That meant that Mike Hyde was forced to cut down some of the plants he processed into oil and juiced raw to put into smoothies for his son. This, coupled with federal Justice Department raids on Missoula dispensaries, led to the Hydes being without a source of medical marijuana for their son for 73 days, Malanca said.
"It's like our mom giving us half a teaspoon of cough medicine when you're supposed to get a full tablespoon, in order to make it last," Malanca said Thursday.