Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Idaho Senate Passes Two Cannabis Bills to Assist Those Suffering From Epileptic Seizures

Posted By on Tue, Mar 24, 2015 at 12:04 PM

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Emotions ran high Tuesday morning in the chambers of the Idaho Senate as lawmakers approved two measures to loosen restrictions on oil extracted from cannabis to be used as treatment for individuals who suffer from severe epileptic seizures.

Senate Bill 1146aa would legalize the non-psychotropic form of cannabidiol oil, but would not exempt its users from federal prosecution.

"This bill doesn't nullify federal law," said Boise Democratic Sen. Grant Burgoyne. "All this bill does is say that our [Idaho] law won't be a problem. We're not taking on federal law or seeking to change statutes."

Caldwell Republican Sen. Jim Rice stood to tell fellow lawmakers about his younger brother who has epilepsy.

"This is a good proposal," said Rice. "That's why it's supported by a neurologist that my family trusted for many years. Every child is a new experiment. We have to find out what's right for them. This is the right thing to do."

And Terreton Republican Sen. Jeff Siddoway came close to tears as he testified.

"How can you watch a young thing suffer and not be compelled to do everything we can do to help that child?" Siddoway asked.

Meridian Republican Sen. Marv Hagedorn pushed back, saying, "This is not an emotional decision. It can't be."

Eventually, the Senate voted 22-12 to pass the bill. Voting no were Sens. Steve Bair, Bert Brackett, Dean Cameron, Marv Hagedorn, Lee Heider, Brent Hill, Dan Johnson, Todd Lakey, Abby Lee, Patti Anne Lodge, Jim Patrick and Chuck Winder.

A few minutes later, the Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 1156, which would allow the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare to administer a special program, including trials and oversight of Epidiolex, which might also reduce epileptic seizures.  

There was no debate on the second measure, which passed 34-0. Both bills now head to the Idaho House for its consideration.

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