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Walker signs marijuana oil bill into law to help kids with seizures

By Jennifer Hoff, jhoff@wisctv.com
Published On: Apr 16 2014 10:33:44 PM CDT
Updated On: Apr 17 2014 06:49:59 AM CDT
marijuana plants

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MADISON, Wis. -

Some parents welcome a new law that legalizes a drug derived from marijuana.

It’s designed just for children who suffer from seizures. Gov. Scott Walker signed a bill that allows children to take CBD oil, which is a byproduct of marijuana. He stresses this isn’t the same as legalizing pot.

“It’s very controlled, from the examining board and oversight by pharmacists and physicians and I think that’s important moving forward,” Walker said. “This is not in any way what we see with other laws across the country.”

The oil could be available as early as the fall, and Monona mom Amylynne Santiago Volker plans to give it to her son. She contacted her lawmaker to draft the bill last fall because her son Nic has more than 100 seizures a day.

“We always have to worry that even one seizure can be fatal,” Volker said.

The 9-year-old underwent DNA sequencing to diagnose a stomach disease, but the bone marrow transplant to cure it, instead causes him to seize. He has also been diagnosed with Epilepsy.

“It’s God-given, it’s a plant and it’s not made in a factory,” Volker said. The oil is extracted from the plant, and will come from Colorado.

“Right away, if someone thinks, 'Marijuana for kids,' they’re thinking this is terrible, but they don’t understand it’s very different than smoking the plant,” Naturopathic Dr. Aaron Henkel said.

He said the oil has low levels of THC and doesn’t produce a high. It’s also been successful for some of his patients who purchase it out of state.

“If we can find a way to get natural plants and get the juices from it to help people and there’s no prescription, it’s going to be more economical for our society and it’s going to be easier for people to get,” Henkel said.

The oil could be available by October, either in capsule or liquid form. Volker hopes it will shorten her son’s already long medical journey.

“The side effects actually seem to be positive for my son and much less dangerous than any of the medications he’s been on for Epilepsy and his immune disease,” Volker said.

The Wisconsin Controlled Substances Board will now apply for a permit from the Food and Drug Administration. Then, the board designates what pharmacies and physicians can dispense the medication. Kentucky, Alabama and Utah also legally use CBD oil.

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