(From left) Rep. Mary Lou Marzian, D-Louisville, Dr. Sue Sisley of Arizona, and Michael Krawitz, founder of Veterans For Medical Cannabis Access, present a medical marijuana bill to the House Health and Welfare Committee in February, 2014.
After passing the Kentucky General Assembly with unanimous support, a new law that would permit state public universities to research and prescribe medical cannabis oil is hitting a rough patch.
Karen Skjei is an assistant professor at U of L and director of Kosair Children’s Hospital’s pediatric epilepsy monitoring unit. She says the new law doesn’t provide any groundwork for getting the oil into the hands of patients, and the university is currently seeking grants to fund clinical trials to study and administer the drug.
“It’s not available anywhere in the state. You can’t bring it in across state lines. So at this point there’s no way for patients to get it,” said Skjei.
Lawmakers passed the bill this year in response to moving testimony from parents with epileptic children, which the drug is believed to treat.
Skjei says she doesn’t know when the drug will be available to patients.
Doctors at two university research hospitals can now prescribe oil derived from marijuana or hemp to treat patients.
Gov. Steve Beshear signed SB.124 into law on Thursday. It allows doctors at the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville research hospitals to prescribe cannabidiol to treat patients. Supporters note the oil has been particularly effective in treating seizures in children.
In a news release, Beshear said he signed the bill into law because it only allowed the oil with the permission from a doctor at a research hospital or if someone is participating in a trial administered by the federal Food and Drug Administration.
Doctors at two Kentucky research hospitals can prescribe medicine derived from marijuana oil to treat child seizures under a bill that cleared the General Assembly on Monday.
The bill would allow Kentuckians to use cannabidiol in two cases: a prescription from a doctor at the University of Kentucky or the University of Louisville research hospitals, or a trial from the U. S. Food and Drug Administration.
The Senate gave the bill final approval Monday and it will become law unless Democratic Governor Steve Beshear vetoes it. The bill comes as states across the country are allowing the limited use of marijuana and its products for medical purposes.
In other news from Frankfort, Kentucky drivers will not pay more in states taxes at the gas pump this summer.
House Speaker Greg Stumbo said he's told legislative leaders to prepare the state's two year road spending plan without the extra $107 million that would come from a 1.5 cents-per-gallon increase in the state gas tax.
A bill allowing the use of cannabis oil for treatment of certain medical conditions is one step from becoming Kentucky law.
The oil, extracted from marijuana and hemp plants, is giving a Hopkinsville family hope for their infant daughter.
Six-month-old Clara Gilliam was born a healthy, nine-pound, nine-ounce baby girl. But at three months, her behavior started to baffle her parents, Jerry and Julie Gilliam.
"She started to have what appeared to just be constipation or stomach aches, but her eyes were deviating to the sides, and as a mom, you just know when something's not normal," explained Gilliam.
There was something more to the strange postures and facial movements. Baby Clara was diagnosed with Aicardi Syndrome, a rare disease affecting only 800 people in the U.S., and all of them females. It turned out that Clara was having seizures.
Julie Gilliam sat in her Hopkinsville home last week, rocking Clara and giving her a bottle. Her contentment was cut short.
"She's starting to have a seizure right now. It looks like it will be a mild cluster," Gilliam remarked. Sometimes in between the spasms she's crying and all you can do is hold her and comfort her, but it doesn't get any easier as a parent."
A bill that would permit state universities to research and prescribe medicinal cannabis oil has passed out of a House committee.
Lawmakers in the House Judiciary Committee approved Senate Bill 124 by a unanimous vote.
The proposed legislation would permit the University of Louisville and the University of Kentucky to study the effects of a chemical compound found in the cannabis plant that some say alleviate symptoms of some neurological disorders.
The Kentucky Senate has passed a bill that would allow doctors to prescribe, and patients to use, cannabis-based oil for medical purposes. The non-intoxicating cannabidiol has been used in other states to treat severe seizures in children, as well as post-traumatic stress disorder.
The bill is sponsored by Republican Senator Julie Denton of Louisville who says the oil would be studied by Kentucky research universities. Doctors would be able to send patients to those universities to acquire the oil. The bill drew no vocal opposition in the Senate chamber.
It cleared the state Senate on Wednesday with a unanimous vote. The bill now moves to the Kentucky House for consideration.
Rita Wooten holds up her smartphone and plays a video: her three-year-old son, Eli, clad in a diaper, writhes on a couch, his limbs twitching, his lips a pale shade of blue.
Eli has Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome, or LGS, a rare neurological disorder that causes chronic seizures.Wooton says her son has suffered thousands of them, causing extensive brain damage.
Wooton testified before the Senate Health & Welfare Committee Wednesday in support of a measure filed by Sen. Julie Denton that would permit state universities to research and ultimately prescribe the use of cannabidiol, or CBD, a compound derived from the cannabis plant that is believed to successfully treat certain neurological disorders.
“Our neurologist told us two weeks ago..she said ‘Rita, try this CBD oil and see if it’ll help’. I said we can’t because it’s not legal in our state. I said we’re looking at going to Colorado. We shouldn’t have to leave our homes and our families and our jobs to seek treatment for him.”