Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Press Release: Utah Legalizes Cannabis for Seizure Treatment


Utah Legalizes Cannabis for Seizure Treatment
Governor Signs Bill – First of Its Kind in Nation

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah- Tuesday, 25 March – Today, many Utah families cheered as Governor Gary Herbert held an event replicating his signing of “Charlee’s Law” or HB105, the first bill of its kind allowing cannabis extract (CBD) oil for treatment of uncontrolled seizures. Based on recommended use by board certified neurologists, Utah families hope the oil will decrease or even control their children’s seizures.

Governor Herbert signed the bill last Thursday and it will go into effect this July. The new law allows families of children with uncontrolled epilepsy to possess CBD oil, manufactured from the cannabis plant, in Utah. Where 20 other states have legalized the use of medical marijuana, this nationally unique law allows for specific precautions, such as a low psychoactive component of .3 percent THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). “CBD oil does not cause a ‘high’ and it has absolutely no abuse potential, yet it could prove to improve quality of life or even save lives for some of our children,” said Annette Maughan, Epilepsy Association of Utah’s president.

Charlee’s Law states that families who bring CBD oil into Utah must take their board certified neurologist’s recommendation to the Utah Department of Health in order to obtain a permit once per year. A law enforcement officer may check the validity of permits at any time. Neurologists recommending the product to their patients must send their findings to an institution of higher education to study. The law will have a sunset provision of two years, allowing Utah lawmakers to analyze the research.

Some Utah lawmakers had concerns that the product is not yet FDA approved and questioned the known side effects. Still, the House passed the bill 62-11 and it went on to win a unanimous vote of 26-0 at the Senate, citing arguments supporting that children with intractable epilepsy do not have time to wait the five to eight year process of FDA approval.

“The preliminary research that has been done would show that it has been very optimistic that we actually increase life span and life potential by decreasing the seizures by 50 to 100 percent,” said Representative Gage Froerer, the bill’s sponsor. Maughan stated that the most common side effect is that it makes children a little sleepy, which is an incredible improvement compared to the FDA approved and organ destroying medications children currently take.

“We are thrilled that Utah lawmakers have researched and recognized the urgency of this matter, while showing an incredible amount of compassion for Utah’s epileptic children,” said Maughan.

Press Contact:        Jennifer May
Email:                        info@epilepsyut.org

Website:                  www.epilepsyut.org

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