State senators hurt families, block CBD bill

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Royal Purple Staff Opinion

April 5, 2016

Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that can cause some people to have as many as 100 seizures in a single day, and it affects more than 450,000 children across the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Cannabidiol oil (or “CBD oil”) is a byproduct of marijuana that some doctors say could help treat children who suffer from frequent, repeated seizures, and have limited or no other medical options.

New legislation in Wisconsin with bipartisan support would have made it easier for parents of children prone to seizures to obtain the drug, but it was blocked last month by three top Republican senators for what we believe are  ridiculous and unwarranted reasons.

After passing the Assembly in February the measure, AB 228, went to the Senate last month, where a majority of senators supported the bill. It would have been approved and sent to the governor, but Senate President Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) and senators Duey Stroebel (R-Cedarburg) and Leah Vukmir (R-Wauwatosa) adamantly opposed the bill because of concerns that it could lead to the eventual legalization of marijuana in Wisconsin.

Their conclusions prompted Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) to prevent a vote to approve the bill by adjourning the Senate, even though he himself supported it. Fitzgerald, Lazich, Stroebel and Vukmir must be held accountable for their opposition and actions, and to do so we encourage students to vote on April 9 for senators who are capable of coherent reasoning when voting on new legislation.

Fitzgerald said the opposing senators were worried the bill could pave the way for Native American tribes to grow and sell marijuana (similar to how the creation of the state lottery allowed tribes to legally open casinos across the state in the 1990s). But this fear is completely unwarranted, as Wisconsin already passed a bill that was intended to make obtaining CBD oil legal in 2014.

The legislation is already in place – AB 228 was merely intended to improve the current law. As the law stands today, Wisconsin parents lack legal protections when obtaining CBD oil through online sources. So, if the law has been in place since 2014, where are the Native American tribes pedaling the always dangerous “devil’s lettuce” to our population?

These senators are fixated on preventing the imminent decriminalization of marijuana, meanwhile epileptic children can’t get potentially helpful medicine. We think everyone can agree that bickering over the already-established precedents of a law that is currently in place, at the expense of children’s health is completely unethical. 

And yes, this is a legitimate medicine we’re talking about – not even the suspect “medical marijuana” that patients can obtain with minor ailments in states like Michigan (we have trouble sleeping, too). Or, heaven forbid, the “recreational marijuana” in a state like Colorado (what a desolate and depraved state).

Unlike conventional marijuana, CBD oil is extracted from cannabis in the form of cannabidiol (CBD), the major non-psychoactive chemical compound that makes up the plant. That’s a fancy way of saying that CBD won’t get kids high because it’s different than the major psychoactive compound in cannabis, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). CBD oil is made to have very low amounts of THC, as it is largely intended for medical use.

We must admit, there is insufficient research to prove that CBD oil can be useful for all children prone to seizures. The few studies that have been conducted have shown mixed results, claiming that some children show great improvements from the drug, while others display increasing frequency and severity of seizures.

Either way, the three senators display little interest in medical research or children’s health in their opposition – only for potential legal precedents. CBD oil should be made obtainable in Wisconsin, if anything so that better research can be conducted on its effects and potential uses for children prone to seizures.