Alabama state Rep. Mike Ball wants to legalize medical cannabis for sick and ailing Alabamans, but he doesn't want the whole plant. Instead, Ball says he will be pushing for a bill that allows for high-CBD oils derived from cannabis but not for the outright legalization of the cannabis plant as a whole for medical purposes.
"This CBD oil bill is very high on my list of priorities," Ball told Montgomery, Alabama's ABC 31. He says the idea for the bill came after meeting a child in his district suffering from a severe seizure disorder.
"It made no sense to me that people who are sick or have a loved one who is sick, and under a doctor's care, should be in any danger of prosecution for possessing this," Ball said.
Charlotte Dalton, the child that sparked this bill, suffers from Dravet's syndrome which can as many as 300 seizures every month. Her family says that the pharmaceutical drugs she is prescribed are taking their toll on the little girl.
"Our next step in some of those pharmaceuticals some of the side effects in those medications can be organ failure, random catatonic states, and her emotional development will slow down and a lot of her milestones will start to slow down just from the side effects of the medication," Charlotte's mother, Gena Dalton, says.
The bill would allow adults and children being treated for seizure disorders receive recommendations from their physicians for the oil. Ball says that be eliminating the buzz from pot, he's able to get more lawmakers on board with him who otherwise would be against it.
"The battle that is before us to give some relief to these people--it revolves entirely around educating people. What this is, what the intent of this bill is, and what it is not," he said. "I couldn't find any anecdotal evidence to speak of that this would get you high, that it would have any street value, or that there was any particular harmful affects."
The Dalton family is hanging their entire existence in Alabama on the bill. They say if it doesn't pass, they'll be moving to Colorado where the oil is more easily (and legally) accessible. Ball says that is a shame.
"I just don't think that an Alabama parent should have to move to get treatment for their child," he says.
While the CBD bill is a great start, unfortunately a CBD-only bill will still force patients out of state who can benefit from THC and a host of other cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. At the least, it forces them to remain criminals for seeking out relief.