Idaho’s Senate Tuesday will consider two bills about cannabis-based epilepsy treatments.
Clare Carey has been asking lawmakers to allow access to a certain kind of hemp oil for nearly two years. One of the two bills in the Senate is called Alexis’ Law after Carey’s daughter, who suffers from debilitating, life threatening epilepsy.
That bill seeks to give parents of children with severe epilepsy access to an oil that has very little of the chemical that makes marijuana psychotropic, but a lot of the chemicals that are thought to prevent seizures. It wouldn’t exactly make the oil legal. But if someone were arrested for having it, and proved to a judge they were using it to treat epilepsy, they wouldn’t be convicted.
“As it stands right now, we would be not only arrested, but we would be going to jail. So this is one step better than that,” Carey says.” We want to be able to use this treatment option without being considered criminals, and if we have an affirmative defense, then we would not be criminals. So it’s one way of achieving the goal we set out for.”
Carey is disappointed lawmakers won’t simply make it legal. She says the bill has had to become needlessly strict. Since the oil won’t make people high, it shouldn’t be treated as if it were dangerous, she says. But she thinks compromises had to be made to gain support from marijuana-shy lawmakers. Still, she’s afraid opposition from Governor Butch Otter could be too much to overcome.
The other bill before the Senate Tuesday would allow the state of Idaho to pay for trials of experimental drugs. The state would be able to provide funding for some children to take part in a clinical trial of a drug being developed by a British pharmaceutical company.
Carey thinks that’s a good idea but would help far fewer people. She’d be happy if lawmakers pass both, but not if they only pass the drug trial bill.
Find Adam Cotterell on Twitter @cotterelladam
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