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Medical marijuana bill gets committee nod; heads to full Senate

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Katie Dodson is considered a CDB oil success story. Here she is in November 2015.
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Measure would allow CBD oil for adults, various illnesses

OKLAHOMA CITY – A low-dose form of medical marijuana may soon be used by adults afflicted with several medical conditions including epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and cancer.

A state Senate panel approved House Bill 2835 Monday by a 9-0 vote to allow people 18 and over to receive cannabidiol (CDB) oil and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active ingredient in marijuana, within clinic settings and trials. The amount of THC is limited by law to three-tenths of a percent.

The proposal, if approved by the full Senate, would allow doctors to prescribe the CBD oil to patients with intractable nausea and vomiting, appetite stimulation associated with chronic wasting diseases, such as cancer, epilepsy and spasticity due to Multiple Sclerosis or paraplegia.

In 2015, the Oklahoma Legislature approved the same measure for children under 18.

At the time, Gov. Mary Fallin lauded the bill as a breakthrough for children with epilepsy.

“This bill will help get sick children potentially life-changing medicine,” Fallin said in April 2015. “By crafting the legislation in a way that allows for tightly controlled medical studies, we can ensure we are researching possible treatments in a responsible and scientific w ay. It is not marijuana, and it is not anything that can make you high. This law has been narrowly crafted to support highly supervised medical trials for children with debilitating seizures."

The bill’s House author, Rep. Jon Echols, introduced the same proposal this year to include anyone over 18. Echols has a special passion for the measure since the current law is named after his niece, Katie, who suffers from seizures and Dravet Syndrome.

“I’m very excited,” he said. “This is a very important piece of legislation that seems to be working its way through the process quickly.”

Katie and her mother, Kelli Dodson, attended Monday’s Senate hearing and were all smiles after the 9-0 vote. The panel did not debate the issue or ask any questions of Sen. Ervin Yen, the bill’s Senate sponsor.

The Dodson family also was smiling Monday because it was the first time Katie has been able to walk from the car to the Capitol building. On previous trips to the Capitol, Katie was forced to use a wheelchair.

“I attribute that to the CBD oil,” Dodson said. “Her mobility is so much better. She’s been on it since May and she’s had an 80 percent reduction in her seizures. Her cognitive abilities have improved, she is more verbal and she has better coordination and balance.”

Katie’s doctors also have taken her off two pharmaceuticals, which have negative side effects, and placed her at a therapeutic level for the CBD oil, her mother said.

The measure passed the full House in early March by a vote of 89-6.

CBD oil is now legal in 16 states, including Oklahoma. The others are Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Idaho and New York.

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Tim Farley

Tim Farley is an award-winning journalist with more than 30 years of experience, including...

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About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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