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Does Your Child Suffer From Seizures? Here Are The States With CBD-Only Laws

Several years ago, Dr. Sanjay Gupta showed the world in his CNN documentary “Weed” how cannabidiol (CBD) was helping epileptic children live seizure free. Since then, there has been a literal uprising in the popularity of this non-intoxicating component of the cannabis plant. Even the federal government, which still maintains that marijuana has no medicinal value, has signed off on CBD to some degree. In 2018, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first ever CBD-based drug (Epidiolex) for the U.S. market designed explicitly as a treatment for children with rare forms of epilepsy.

Several states have put marijuana laws on the books over the past few years exclusively for children suffering from seizure disorders. There are now 17 states in the nation where children can legally use this drug as opposed to traditional epilepsy treatments. However, some of these laws are better than others. In most cases, the law simply allows parents to have an affirmative defense. Other states have a full-blown cultivation and distribution network setup for this medicine.

Alabama

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The state was one of the first to push a CBD-only policy known as “Carly’s Law.” It was made official back in 2014 when it was signed by Governor Robert Bentley. But the law is pretty weak. It only gives epilepsy patients the right to flex an affirmative defense if they happened to get busted for possession of this marijuana compound. The state does not have a legal system for purchasing CBD oil. In 2016, another CBD law was signed by Bentley that expanded the affirmative defense to more patients. Both laws require a physician to write a “prescription” before this defense is valid. Due to a conflict between state and federal law, neither statute has been beneficial.

Georgia

The state has the “Haleigh’s Hope Act,” which was signed into law back in 2015 by Governor Nathan Deal. It allows the use of CBD oil containing no more than 5 percent THC. This is another affirmative defense state. There is still no in-state cultivation and distribution, so patients are required to smuggle in CBD from another legal state such as Colorado. However, back in 2017, lawmakers approved more qualifying conditions. Now, patients with cancer to PTSD can register to use CBD oil.

Indiana

The state was one of the last to pass a CBD-only law. It allows patients with epilepsy to use cannabidiol that contains no more than 0.3 percent THC. But the catch is that patients can only gain access to the cannabis compound if their epilepsy is resistant to other therapies. The state does, however, have a law in place allowing the distribution of hemp-derived CBD. These products do not contain near the level of CBD concentration that is needed to control the frequency of seizures.

Iowa

The state has the “Medical Cannabidiol Act,” which allows patients with intractable epilepsy to use CBD with 3 percent THC or less. Possession of CBD products containing more than the permitted THC level can bring about criminal charges. The only real upside to this law is the qualifying conditions list was expanded a couple years ago. The state also passed a distribution system for CBD oil so that patients do not have to break federal law smuggling it across state lines.

Kentucky

The state was one of the first to put a CBD-only law on the books. The basis of the law was allowing researchers to examine how the compound might be able to help children with epilepsy. It is a situation where patients must enroll in clinical trials conducted by the state’s universities. There is nothing in the law that shows how patients can otherwise obtain CBD. Physicians aren’t even allowed to offer recommendations, so unless a child has connections to these studies they cannot participate.

Mississippi

The state has “Harper Grace’s Law,” which simply gives certain patients the ability to use an affirmative defense in the event they are caught in possession of CBD oil. But only if the medicine was obtained or tested by the National Center for Natural Products Research at the University of Mississippi and dispensed by the Department of Pharmacy Services at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. If not, prosecution for possession of a Schedule I drug is possible.

Missouri

The state has a CBD-only law on the books that allows patients with intractable epilepsy to use the compound as long as it contains no more than 3 percent THC. But the bill requires that a neurologist attest that the patient was unresponsive to at least three other treatments before recommending CBD. However, the state recently passed a comprehensive medical marijuana program, which should improve CBD access.

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North Carolina

The state has the “Epilepsy Alternative Treatment Act.” Similar to Kentucky, it allows its four universities to experiment with the drug in clinical trials. This enables patients who have been unresponsive to at least three other treatments to get involved with CBD temporarily.

Oklahoma

The state has “Katie’s Law,” which allows minors with severe forms of epilepsy to use CBD oil that contains no more than 3 percent THC. The state recently legalized a more comprehensive medical marijuana program. It is expected that CBD oil will become more readily available there soon.

South Carolina

The state put “Julian’s Law” on the books back in 2014. It exempts some patients (those with a recommendation for CBD oil) from prosecution in some circumstances. Unlike most CBD-only states, South Carolina allows this product to contain no more than 9 percent THC rather than the standard 3 percent. There are also research opportunities for CBD oil available under the law.

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South Dakota

The state has had a bizarre CBD-only law since 2017. It is one that indicates that the compound must be approved by the FDA before it is considered a Schedule IV drug instead of a Schedule I. And the FDA’s recent approval of Epidiolex doesn’t count. Basically, no one is benefiting from this law.

Tennessee

The state put a CBD-only law in place back in 2014. Once again, it is one of those that provides patients with intractable epilepsy with a legal exemption in the event they are busted in possession of this drug. The state does allows some restricted cultivation at state universities, but it’s not a very functional program.

Texas

Governor Greg Abbott signed a CBD-only bill into law in 2015. It allows patients with intractable epilepsy to have access to CBD oil containing no more than 5 percent THC. The law requires patients to receive recommendations from two doctors instead of one. The law was also written to include the word “prescribe,” which creates problems in the ability of doctors to participate in the program.

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Utah

The state has “Charlee’s Law,” which allows patients with intractable epilepsy to possess CBD oil with no more than 3 percent THC. The state recently passed a law that will enable marijuana pharmacies to open next year.

Virginia

The state is another one that allows specific patients an affirmative defense if caught in possession of CBD oil. It protects them from prosecution but not from the initial arrest. However, the state passed legislation a couple of years ago that allows some cannabis producers to manufacture CBD oils for patients with this condition.

Wisconsin

The state has “Lydia’s Law,” which allows patients with seizure disorders the right to possess CBD oil. Although the law gives medical professionals the freedom to dispense CBD, the code on how to obtain it remains unclear.

Wyoming

The state passed a CBD-only law in 2015 that allows patients with intractable epilepsy to possess CBD oil. Again, there is no in-state production, so patients (only those with a state ID cards) must smuggle it in from a legal state.

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