Yesterday, our Executive Director, Mr. Chuck Carmen traveled to Tallahassee to take part in a special legislative hearing for CBD for Epilepsy. Parents, Doctors, and even Law Enforcement were in attendance. Charlotte’s mom and one of her caretakers even showed up to testify. Chuck has some great stories from the day, but we will let him tell them to you in the comments, we don’t want to make a mistake in sharing what he has told us over the phone so far.
Below are two articles that covered this hearing and we are sharing these with you to give you a feel for how the session went. The big news here is that Representative Matt Gaetz was willing to open the discussion for CBD for epilepsy and the hopes for Florida’s families is high after this meeting!
Again, we are stressing that this is not a sweeping medical Cannabis bill. What is in question now is a specific extract called Cannabidiol that is being shown useful for reducing seizures. For clarification on CBD, and other cannabinoids, please visit this page: Cannabinoid Clarification
Rep. Gaetz willing to talk about medical marijuana
State Rep. Matt Gaetz has signaled his willingness to open a dialogue about using marijuana to counteract the debilitating symptoms of some illnesses.
He is quick to point out, however, that he’s leery of anything that would open the door to legalizing pot in Florida for vague medicinal purposes.
“I think it’s misleading to call it medical marijuana,” Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, said.
As chairman of the state House Criminal Justice Subcommittee, Gaetz has scheduled a Thursday hearing to discuss allowing cannabidiol, a compound found in marijuana, to be used in some medical applications.
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is the second-most prevalent compound in marijuana, ranking behind only THC, the substance that produces the euphoric high experienced by recreational smokers, according to information found on the website Leafly.
Research indicates that CBD does not cause a high and possesses “analgesic and anti-anxiety properties without the psychoactive properties THC produces,” the website states.
CBD “looks to be especially promising for conditions that are difficult to treat such as Crohn’s Disease, PTSD and multiple sclerosis,” the website states.
The compound may be the “best hope” for children who suffer from Dravet syndrome, a form of epilepsy that can cause “up to hundreds” of seizures a day, the website states.
Gaetz said he learned about CBD and Dravet syndrome through a news program and has since spoken to local families that face the disease.
Reports implying the conservative Republican was supporting medical marijuana have drawn criticism, and rightly so, Gaetz said.
“People are right to be skeptical of what would be a serious change to the state’s drug policy and whether this is a front for the pot industry to get its foot in the door,” he said.
Still, he said he’d enter Thursday’s meeting with an open mind and said “my suspicion is there is some medical validity here.”
Gaetz said he has not filed a bill on the CBD issue and has not solicited House co-sponsors to support him, though Sunrise Democrat Katie Edwards has been tied to him as a proponent of the legislation.
Edwards was not taking calls on the marijuana issue Monday and her legislative assistant, Robert Vaughn, directed calls to Gaetz’s office.
Contact Daily News Staff Writer Tom McLaughlin at 850-315-4435 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @TomMnwfdn.
Parents lobby Florida lawmakers on medical marijuana
By Bill Cotterrell
TALLAHASSEE, Florida (Reuters) – Parents of children suffering from severe epilepsy and other illnesses got a sympathetic reaction on Thursday from Florida lawmakers considering the legalization of a new marijuana strain that shows promising results for controlling seizures.
“We don’t have time to wait,” said Paige Figi, the mother of a 7-year-old girl for whom the strain “Charlotte’s Web” is named.
Figi, of Colorado Springs, Colorado, told lawmakers during a three-hour committee hearing that her daughter could not leave Colorado, where “Charlotte’s Web” is legal, because of her dependence on the specialized strain, which does not get users high.
Its use has helped reduce her daughter’s seizures to one or two a month, compared with hundreds previously, she said.
Figi’s appearance came as organizers in Florida work to put a proposed constitutional amendment to allow medical use of marijuana on state ballots during the November congressional election, the latest effort in a national campaign to reform laws banning the drug.
Florida state officials are fighting the ballot initiative, which is also opposed by Gov. Rick Scott and the Republican leaders of the state legislature.
The use of “Charlotte’s Web” is viewed by Florida lawmakers as a separate issue from legalizing the medical use of marijuana, and state legislators have invited parents to testify about uses for the marijuana strain.
The strain is low in TCH, the pyschoactive compound that gives users the feeling of being high. The product, which has no value to traditional marijuana consumers and comes as an oil, is high in the compound cannabidiol, or CBD, which helps calm seizures.
Figi said doctors are advising patients to move to Colorado, which legalized marijuana for recreational use as of January 1. She said there are hundreds of families with children suffering from
Davet Syndrome and other forms of seizures that have responded to marijuana when all else failed.
Coy Browning and his wife, Elizabeth, brought their 21-month-old daughter, Isla Grace, to the hearing. Browning, a lawyer in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, said he bought a home in Breckenridge, Colorado, so his daughter can get the drug if Florida does not legalize the marijuana oil.
“If I have to, once it gets bad enough, I’ll have my wife take her out there,” said Browning.
Another parent, Renee Petro of Tampa, said her son, Branden, developed a condition called FIRES — fibril infection-related epilepsy syndrome — about four years ago.
Now 12, she said, her son “talks about killing himself, constantly. He says he’s tired of being sick, and would rather ‘be up there.'”
Petro said she will move to Colorado, if necessary. Several other parents who testified said they know families whose children have died from illnesses that might be helped by the “Charlotte’s Web” strain.
A Republican lawmaker, Rep. Charles Van Zant, a Baptist minister, told the parents he is adamantly opposed to any kind of legalization of marijuana for non-medical purposes.
But he agreed with their testimony.
“I think this is not substance abuse,” said VanZant. “It’s using substances wisely.”
(Editing by Kevin Gray and Dan Grebler)