seizures

West Virginia: Medical Marijuana Legislation Passes House, Goes To Governor

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Medical marijuana legislation has passed the House of Delegates in West Virginia and has been sent to Gov. Jim Justice who is expected to sign the bill, West Virginia Public Broadcasting reports. The bill does not allow smoking or edibles, however, and the state will not begin to issue industry licenses until at least July 1, 2019.

The measure, which passed 74-24, allows access to the medical marijuana program for patients suffering from wasting syndrome, anorexia, cachexia, chronic pain for which standard medication does not relieve, severe nausea and muscle spasms, seizures, “refractory generalized anxiety disorder,” post-traumatic stress disorder, and those admitted to hospice care.

Patients would be required to be certified by the Bureau for Public Health and could obtain a 30-day supply of medical cannabis from a licensed dispensary. Under the measure, the state would permit 10 cultivators and 30 dispensaries. Growers would be subject to a $50,000 initial fee and $5,000 renewal fee. Dispensaries would be required to pay a $10,000 fee per dispensary location and a renewal fee of $2,500. A 6 percent tax will be added onto sales.

If Governor Justice signs the bill, West Virginia will become the 29th state with access to medical marijuana.

Nebraska: Lawmakers Consider Marijuana Legalization

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Lawmakers in Nebraska are considering a bill that would make medical marijuana legal in the state, which would make it the first midwest state to do so.

Nebraska and Oklahoma together sued the state of Colorado in 2014 after it approved adult-use recreational marijuana. The two states argued that growers in Colorado were illegally selling marijuana in their states.

Nebraska now could potentially be joining the list of states that have legalized medical marijuana, however. Lawmakers are currently considering a bill from State Senator Anna Wishart called the Medical Cannabis Act, which would allow use of medical marijuana in certain cases.

The bill passed out of committee in March and will now go before the Senate, where it is expected to face opposition. A representative of the state attorney general's office and the head of the Nebraska State Patrol have already testified against the bill.

Governor Pete Ricketts also opposed a similar measure last year.

Nevertheless, Wishart told the Omaha World Herald she is “optimistic that members will listen to their constituents who are desperately asking them to legalize this form of treatment.”

The Nebraska bill would allow those suffering from certain chronic or severe diseases and conditions to use medical marijuana with a doctor’s prescription.

Florida: Medical Marijuana Available Starting Today

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Today marks the first day that patients in Florida have access to medical marijuana, and doctors are experiencing an influx of patients the new law is bringing in.

Doctors will not be handing out marijuana immediately, however. Doctors and state health officials have up to six months to create a plan for distributing the drug, under the new law.

Qualified physicians who have completed an eight-hour training course regarding medical marijuana will be allowed to prescribe two types of marijuana. Patients with cancer or a condition that causes chronic seizures or muscle spasms may qualify to receive low-THC marijuana, which has very low amounts of the psychoactive ingredient THC and does not usually produce the “high” commonly associated with marijuana.

If a patient has been determined to be terminally ill by two physicians, they may qualify for medical marijuana which contains significant levels of THC.

Some conditions that may qualify a patient for one of the treatments include cancer, seizures, muscle spasms, AIDS, glaucoma, and Parkinson's disease.

Alabama: Governor Signs Leni's Law, Increasing Access To Medical Cannabis Oil

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Patients in Alabama will have greater access to medical cannabis oil after Governor Robert Bentley on Wednesday signed HB 61, also know as Leni's Law, as passed by the Alabama Legislature.

Gov. Bentley's signature decriminalizes possession of medical marijuana CBD oil with THC content of up to 3 percent. The bill is named for a four-year-old girl whose family moved to Oregon to legally access cannabidiol cannabis oil to treat her severe epilepsy, and was hailed as a victory by Leni's mother, Amy Young, reports Paul Gattis at Al.com.

"We are incredibly grateful to the state of Alabama for giving families like ours the opportunity to find relief from life altering and debilitating conditions, and hope for a better quality of life," Young told Hemp News Wednesday afternoon. "Access to medical treatment shouldn't be determined by your zip code."

"I've got this smile glued to my face," said Young, who revealed she'd already received calls from lawmakers in Iowa, South Dakota and Tennessee since the Leni's Law was signed.

Global: Marijuana-Based Drug Found To Reduce Epileptic Seizures

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The first major clinical trial of an experimental drug derived from marijuana has shown that Epidiolex reduces epileptic seizures, the product's developer announced on Monday.

The shares of Big Pharma giant GW Pharmaceuticals more than doubled on Monday after the announcement.

GW said Epidiolex achieved the main goal of the trial, reducing convulsive seizures when compared with a placebo in patients with Dravet syndrome, a rare, severe form of epilepsy, reports Andrew Pollack at The New York Times.

If Epidiolex wins regulatory approval, as expected, it would be the first prescription drug that is extracted from marijuana. Marinol (Dronabinol), the THC capsules prescribed for nausea and appetite, use synthetic rather than plant-derived THC.

Epidiolex is a liquid containing cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive component of cannabis.

As many as one-third of the nearly 500,000 American children with epilepsy aren't sufficiently helped by existing Big Pharma drugs, according to GW. Parents of these children have, in desperation, tried medicinal cannabis extracts prepared by medical marijuana dispensaries.

Maine: School Board Allows Students Medical Marijuana On School Property

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The school board in Auburn, Maine, this week voted to allow students to be administered medical marijuana while on school property.

Maine voters legalized medicinal cannabis back in 1999, reports Crystal Haynes at Fox 25.

Effective immediately, students in Pre-K through high school who are authorized to use medical marijuana can be administered cannabis on school property by a parent or caregiver. The policy prohibits smoking, most most children who are authorized to use cannabis use edible extracts or tinctures.

Auoburn Superintendent Katy Grondin said school districts must make sure medical marijuana doesn't interfere with education. "It's what the doctor and the family decides is in the best interest of the child," she said. "We're not getting involved in it medically."

Morgan Fox of the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) said laws that allow access to medical marijuana while in school are about providing kids with the medicine they need to be able to attend at all. "These kids, just because they're sick, shouldn't have their education interrupted," he said.

Idaho: Timid Governor Vetoes CBD-Only Cannabis Oil Bill

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Cowardly much? Idaho Governor Butch Otter this week vetoed a bill that would have legalized cannabis oil to treat children with severe forms of epilepsy.

The bill would have legalized the concentrated oil containing cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive compound found in marijuana, reports KTVB.

It was one of a wave of "CBD-only" bills which have recently been passed by timid lawmakers in conservative states who want to appear to be doing something to "help the children" by passing some sort of medical marijuana bill without taking any actual political risk.

But apparently even that was seen as too far-out by the timid Governor.

The Governor's order claims there were "too many questions and problems" with the bill, and "too few answers and solutions" for him to sign the bill into law.

A more likely answer would be the Governor's political cowardice, since bills almost exactly like this one have passed in numerous other states like Utah and Alabama, which just as backwards, I mean as conservative, as Idaho.

A group of Idaho mothers pushed for passage of the bill, pointing out the oil did not make children high, but instead has numerous medical benefits in helping children with epilepsy have fewer seizures.

New Jersey: Governor Refuses To Help Suffering Children With Medical Marijuana

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's cold-hearted refusal to allow sick children in his state safe access to medical marijuana was the subject of a blistering editorial inMonday's Star-Ledger.

"The issue of edible marijuana in New Jersey comes down to an irrefutable premise: The governor of this state has had numerous chances to liberate children from suffering over the last 18 months, yet he has chosen not to do it," wrote the Star-Ledger Editorial Board.

"Chris Christie seems content to live with this disgrace," the board wrote. "At one time, he summoned the audacity by looking into the faces of inconsolable parents and chirping the dim-bulb refrain, 'It's complicated,' and now he merely dismisses a law that he signed himself and hopes that nobody notices."

The op-ed unsparingly points out that two years after Vivian Wilson's parents were forced to move to Colorado for the sake of their toddler's health, there is still no workable edible marijuana program for New Jersey's needlessly suffering children -- "because Christie's administration doesn't prioritize compassion."

Minnesota: Department of Health Awards Two Medical Marijuana Manufacturer Licenses

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Patients expected to have access by July 2015

Patients and advocates praise Minnesota Department of Health for selecting the two manufacturers in accordance with the legislative timeline

The Minnesota Department of Health on Monday announced that they have selected two entities to operate as medical cannabis manufacturers under the provisions of the medical cannabis law enacted in May 2014. The successful applicants were chosen among 12 competing proposals.

This announcement is on schedule with the legislatively-enacted timeline, which aims to have distribution sites open and dispensing medical cannabis products to registered patients and their caregivers by July 1, 2015.

Minnesota’s implementation was among the most rapid of any medical marijuana program that includes regulated dispensing. Each manufacturer will be allowed to have up to four distribution points across the state to serve the estimated 5,000 seriously ill Minnesotans who will qualify under the law.

“Selection of the medical cannabis manufacturers is a big step forward toward safe and legal access to the medicine my son needs,” said Jessica Hauser, whose son Wyatt suffers from a condition that can cause hundreds of seizures a day. “After traveling to Oregon, my family knows that Wyatt will benefit from using medical cannabis products.

"We are excited for the day where we can get in our car, instead of on a plane, to obtain medicine that we know improves his quality of life,” Hauser said.

Washington: Herban Legends Gets A Gift of CBD-Rich Medical Cannabis Tincture

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The Herban Legends Collective scholarship fund announced on Monday that it has received a donation of CBD-­rich tincture from LeBlanc CNE.

Located in White Center, Seattle, Washington, Herban Legends in a prepared statement said it has "a strong commitment to making medical marijuana available to as many patients as possible."

LeBlanc CNE is a grower and broker of medical cannabis with a firm belief that healthcare is a right, not a privilege. To that end, LeBlanc tithes itself and donates medical cannabis to Herban Legends.

LeBlanc's most recent donation was of a tincture, Batch #5, rich in cannabidiol (CBD), the non­-psychoactive compound responsible for many of marijuana's healing effects.

CBD has been used with children suffering from seizures, PTSD, Crohn's disease, chronic pain, and a number of other conditions.

"LeBlanc is proud to support Herban Legend Collective's goal of bringing medical marijuana to an otherwise underserved neighborhood," said Jerry Whiting, founder of LeBlanc CNE. "How can anyone say ‘no' to alleviating the pain and suffering of others?"

According to Whiting, Batch #5 is an alcohol­-based tincture made with cannabis strains like Harlequin and Cannatonic, as opposed to strains of marijuana high in THC favored by recreational users.

Batch #5 was made using 190-proof Everclear. LeBlanc CNE said its whole plant extraction method captured a wide range of cannabinoids and terpenes.

New Jersey: Parents Say Medical Marijuana Brought Back Their Daughter's Ability To Speak

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A New Jersey family says that medical marijuana brought back their daughter's ability to speak.

According to parents Shawnea and Ernie Estrella, brain surgery and severe, repeated seizures took away their 22-year-old daughter Sara's speech for 17 years, reports New Jersey News 12. Sara has Lennox Gastaut Synedrome, or LGS, which results in severe seizures.

Over the past month, Shawnea and Ernie said medical marijuana brought back Sara's voice. She started on cannabis on June 27. Her seizures decreased drastically, going 48 hours seizure-free at a time.

"We decreased one of her medications, Depakote, by 750 milligrams a day," Shawnea said. "She is more alert and happy than she's been in a long time. Her appetite is increased and she is up to 95 pounds."

According to her parents, Sara hadn't spoken since her brain surgery at age 5, then for the first time in 17 years, used two words, "no" and "out." "I think she's working on a third: 'home,'" Shawnea said.

The Estrellas said they hope to someday get access to pills and oils, because even with Sara's medical marijuana recommendation, they have to concentrate marijuana into oil, a process which can take hours.

California: Medical Cannabis Dispensaries Offer Free Seizure Medication For Kids

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Two Northern California medical marijuana dispensaries have announced they will be giving away free high-CBD tincture medication for children suffering from seizure disorders.

In the wake of the recent death of 6-year old Charlee Nelson in Utah after she was denied cannabis extract known to help control seizures caused by a neurological disorder, Dave Spradlin, co-director of Magnolia Wellness in Oakland and River City Phoenix in Sacramento, has announced that he will provide for free the expensive extract to any patients with a similar ailment.

The medicine is a scientifically produced liquid made from marijuana plants and used to treat people with severe seizure disorders. The tincture is rich in a chemical called cannabidiol, or CBD, but low in THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.

CBD is a non-psychoactive component of marijuana that is known to possess a wide range of therapeutic benefits. It has proven to be especially effective in the treatment of seizures brought on by neurological conditions such as Batten disease, which was blamed in the death of Charlee Nelson.

“People are really suffering and this product has been known to cut seizures from hundreds a day to just a few a week or none at all,” said Spradlin.

Many in the medical community feel this is an effective alternative to conventional pharmaceuticals and can dramatically improve a patient’s quality of life.

Illinois: Senate Committee Approves Bill Legalizing Medical Marijuana For Children

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Illinois is considering expanding its medical marijuana law to include children suffering from conditions like epilepsy. The Senate Public Health Committee on Tuesday unanimously approved a bill that would legalize such treatment for minors in a 8-0 vote.

"Letters have been sent by so many parents who suffer watching their children have seizures -- and not just one or two seizures: 100, 200, 1,000 seizures a week," said bill sponsor Sen. Iris Martinez (D-Chicago), reports Elise Dismer at the Chicago Sun-Times. "This could be a life-saving solution for children suffering from epilepsy."

Nicole Gross said her 8-year-old son, Chase, lost his ability to speak due to his seizures. "Following his dose of the cannabis oil, we started to see one to two seizures in two minutes, and then two minutes seizure free, five minutes seizure free, then eight ... and when we hit 20, I cried," Gross said, reports Craig Wall at Fox Chicago.

"As a mom, too, it's fun to see his personality, we're seeing more of his personality, we're seeing more of a sense of humor, he wants to tease and play, he likes to make jokes, he likes to hide things from us now and run away, and he knows what he's doing and he thinks it's funny," Nicole said. "And before, we did not really see that."

U.S.: Dr. Gupta Doubling Down On Medical Marijuana With Another Documentary

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Dr. Sanjay Gupta changed the landscape of the medical marijuana debate last year with his groundbreaking CNN documentary, "Weed," which drew attention everywhere from parents to the halls of Congress. At 10 p.m. on Tuesday, March 11, Dr. Gupta returns with a second, hour-long documentary on the health benefits of cannabis.

Dr. Gupta will narrate the show, which will include sick children and their parents struggling for safe access to medical marijuana despite legal barriers caused by state and federal laws. The show will also discuss how cannabis can ease the symptoms of multiple sclerosis, arthritis, cancer, epilepsy and other diseases.

"We think it'll be another big deal across our country, and hopefully even in other parts of the world where they are thinking about changing their laws," said Heidi Parikh of Romulus, Michigan, founder of the Michigan Compassion education groups, reports Bill Laitner at the Detroit Free Press.

"If you want to understand the science, this is something you'll want to watch," Dr. Gupta told the Free Press on Monday. "The drug continues to be unfairly rejected by most of the American medical establishment and by government drug regulators."

Georgia: Family Fights For Medical Marijuana Law For 4-Year-Old Daughter

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A Georgia family is fighting for access to a type of oil derived from marijuana to help their four-year-old daughter treat a disorder that causes up to 100 seizures a day.

Brian and Janea Cox want their daughter Haleigh to try a compound made from "a special kind of marijuana that's high in CBD (cannabidiol) that helps the brain, and low in THC," (tetrahydrocannabinol), the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis, reports Maggie Lee at The Telegraph.

Janea Cox said her daughter is on benzodiazepines and opiates that make her sleep 18 hours a day, but can't get the cannabis oil that could help her the most, reports Lori Geary at WSB-TV. Children in Colorado with similar disorders have seen amazing results after being treated with cannabis oil, which is legal there, she said.

"It's good to see people are opening their eyes," Janea said. "Hundreds of kids die every day because of seizures. I don't want her to be one of those kids. So, I'm going to constantly fight."

Back in 1980, the Georgia Legislature created the Controlled Substances Therapeutic Research Program, setting up a process for doctors to investigate the effects of marijuana on patients with glaucoma and other conditions. But that program was unworkable as written; it never attracted any researchers or patients.

Pennsylvania: Parents of Epileptic Kids Hope Medical Marijuana Bill Passes

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Some parents of epileptic children in Pennsylvania have new hope as a result of research on cannabidiol, or CBD, a non-psychoactive cannabinoid in marijuana that has shown to be effective against seizures. The parents appeared in a news conference on Monday in Harrisburg, Pa., with PA Parents For MMJ, a group advocating for passage of a medical marijuana law in the Keystone State.

Heather Shuker, a single mother who runs a billing business, introduced her daughter Hannah Pallas to lawmakers at the news conference, reports Melissa Daniels at TribLive.com.

Hannah, 10, has had seizures since she was four months old. Recently, the seizures have escalated to dozens a day, hundreds a week. Doctors aren't sure what's causing Hannah's epilepsy, and no anti-seizure medications have stopped the seizures. The pharmaceuticals bring their own negative side effects.

Senators DaylinLeach (D-Montgomery County) and Mike Folmer (R-Lebanon County) will introduce bipartisan legislation to legalize medical marijuana with high levels of CBD, according to TribLive.com.

"I'm fighting for this because I want her to have an opportunity to have a better quality of life," Shuker said.

New Jersey: Youngest Medical Marijuana Patient, 2, Finally Gets Her Turn

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

New Jersey's youngest medical marijuana patient, two-and-a-half-year-old Vivian Wilson, left the Compassionate Care Foundation medicinal cannabis dispensary Monday in a stroller, holding a stuffed toy dog, with her parents Brian and Meghan Wilson of Scotch Plains.

It was a moment to remember for the dispensary, which finally opened on Monday, nearly four years after the state passed its medical marijuana law, reports Susan K. Livio at The Star-Ledger. It was perhaps an even more important moment for the Wilsons and for other families with critically ill children in New Jersey.

Monday marked the first time a New Jersey family was able to buy the form of marijuana that in other states has helped quell the severe seizures that have stunted Vivian Wilson's development, and could take her life. Vivian has a rare and dangerous form of epilepsy called Dravet syndrome, and conventional medicine just hasn't helped much.

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