A North Carolina bill that would legalize a compound in marijuana plants to treat seizures and other illnesses has passed the first reading in the state House.
The bill, titled "Hope 4 Haley and Friends," is named after 6-year-old Haley Ward (pictured above), of Newport, who suffers from daily seizures and averages about three a day. The bill would legalize cannabidiol (CBD) oil, a compound in cannabis that could reduce seizures and other disorders.
Haley started having seizures when she was about 9 weeks old. Since then, she has had as many as 40 seizures per day, said her mother, Sherena Ward, who tried at least 12 different medications to treat Haley. Ward said CBD oil may be the only choice.
"I'm very grateful to those people who sponsored this bill," said Ward. "I'm very grateful to have their support."
The bill passed its first reading in the state House Wednesday and has now been referred to the Committee on Health and Human Services. If viewed as favorable, it will then be referred to Judiciary Subcommittee B.
If the House makes final approval, the bill will then head to the Senate, and if it passes there, it will head to Gov. Pat McCrory's desk.
Sponsored by Representatives Pat McElraft, Marilyn Avila, Becky Carney, and Jim Fulghum, the bill lists the following as its objective:
"An act to create a compassionate use registry for the use and administration of hemp oil extract for people suffering from intractable seizure disorders, and to provide that compassionate use registrants are not subject to criminal penalties for the possession and use of hemp oil extract when possessed and used to treat intractable seizure disorders."
According to the bill, the "hemp oil extract" will have the following characteristics:
-Is composed of less than 0.3 percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) by weight;
-Is composed of at least 10 percent cannabidiol by weight; and
-Contains no other psychoactive substance.