U.S. Rep. Scott Perry introduced a bill proposing the national legalization of medical marijuana oil that has been shown to reduce seizures in children with debilitating epilepsy. The conservative Pennsylvania Republican made the announcement along side the president of the national Epilepsy Foundation and advocates that included the mother of Colorado girl Charlotte Figi, whose successful treatment with cannabidiol oil has inspired a national movement. Joel Stanley, one of the creators of the “Charlotte’s Web” strain of marijuana used to treat Figi, was also present for the introduction announcement of Perry’s bill, the “Charlotte’s Web Medical Hemp Act of 2014.”
According to Perry, the bill would give children and adults with epilepsy and other seizure disorders access to the oil (called CBD) for treatment by removing CBD oil and therapeutic hemp from the federal definition of marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act. The marijuana plant and its derivatives and extracts are currently banned for medical and recreational use at the federal level and in most states. Unfortunately, the bill doesn’t legalize all forms of marijuana, such as smoking, for medical use.
‘Therapeutic hemp’ is that which has no more than .3 percent tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the psychoactive chemical which causes the ‘high’ from marijuana. The plants used in the oil are grown to be high in CBD, which is credited for the reduction in seizures, but low in THC.
Perry said earlier this year he had been swayed to legalize the oil treatments after several meetings with parents whose children have uncontrolled seizures for which traditional pharmaceuticals were either ineffective or caused life-threatening side effects.
Perry’s Medical Marijuana Oil bill will be assigned to a committee, where a passing vote will be required before it can be forwarded for consideration by the entire House. Although this bill is not a nod for full legalization, it is a step in the right direction.