Before her mother, Frances Keeffe, was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Etain co-founder and CEO Amy Peckham hadn’t given much thought to the medical potential of cannabis or considered it as a treatment option for “Granny Franny,” as Amy’s four children called her. It was 2009, and cannabis was still illegal in New York and therefore off limits.
Amy accompanied her mother to many of her appointments, and it was difficult to watch. Keeffe’s prescription list grew to the point where she was taking 18 medications a day to manage her symptoms, which included debilitating pain, excess saliva, digestion problems and nausea. Amy’s father, a lawyer, questioned the doctors, but with so many medical professionals involved, it was hard to know what was best and who was right.
“Never was [my mom considered] a holistic individual, with quality of life needs. [Her treatment] was taken piece by piece, and no one [questioned other] professionals,” Amy says. “It led to situations where she was quarantined because of drug reactions. It was clearly the combination of the medications, yet no one would decouple all the overprescribing. That was a very frustrating situation. My father had been a practicing attorney, and he would just sit there saying, ‘They’re killing her, they’re killing her,’ (as if she wasn’t in a terminally ill situation).”
A doctor suggested cannabis in 2012, the year her mother died, but with no access to tested, regulated product at the time, it wasn’t an option. Keeffe—who followed doctor’s orders and laws by the book—would not consider something illegal. But Amy wished her mom’s situation were different, and that there were an alternative.
Just two years later, the legal landscape would change, and Amy and her two daughters would not only champion the benefits of the plant but also launch a