Federal legislation announced Monday could legalize marijuana oil that appears to ease symptoms of debilitating epilepsy – a move that could offer hope to families from across the nation who flocked to Colorado seeking help for their children.
Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., said he will introduce the Charlotte’s Web Medical Hemp Act of 2014 Monday evening. The bill is named for an oil produced from marijuana grown in Teller County that has garnered national attention for its ability to help a Black Forest girl and others.
If passed, the legislation would allow such oils to be shipped across state lines, Perry said – possibly allowing families who moved to Colorado to return home. States, however, must first approve of the oil in their state.
“This gets rid of the federal prohibition, and that allows the states to make their own determination,” Perry said. “But we’re thinking that as soon as that’s done, the states will be under some obvious pressure to take care of the citizens in their states, so they don’t have to move to Colorado to receive treatment.”
The bill would remove oil that has up to 0.3 percent tetrahydrocannabinol – also known as THC, the substance that gives marijuana users a high – from the federal drug schedule. Marijuana is currently listed as a schedule I substance, the nation’s highest classification for drugs. The THC amount cited in the bill is considered scant. Rather, it’s the marijuana strain’s high level of CBD, cannabidiol, that provides relief for such medical conditions as epilepsy.
Many families say they have noticed dramatic improvements in the number and severity of seizures in their children after using the oil. Still, research in the United States remains virtually nonexistent on the oil, largely due to its federal classification.
Perry acknowledged that lack of research, but said the anecdotal evidence is too much to ignore.
“It seems to me that at the end of the day, if you can’t prove that it does something wrong, then why can’t people avail themselves to it,” said Perry, of the oil. “And so far, there is no proof that it does anything detrimental.”
The bill is co-sponsored by a Democrat from Tennessee and two Republicans, one from Georgia and another from California.
Check back to gazette.com for more information as the story develops.
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