RALEIGH: NC lawmaker files bill legalizing cannabis oil - WNCN: News, Weather

NC lawmaker files bill legalizing cannabis oil

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CBD oil is derived from a strain of medical marijuana and is believed to reduce seizures in epileptic children. CBD oil is derived from a strain of medical marijuana and is believed to reduce seizures in epileptic children.
RALEIGH, N.C. -

There's a movement led by mothers and fathers in North Carolina to get legislation passed that would legalize CBD oil -- a strain of the marijuana plant believed to reduce seizures in epileptic children.

State Rep. Pat McElraft (R-Carteret County) introduced legislation Tuesday afternoon hoping to do just that. The bill allows the use of hemp oil for patients who suffer from "intractable seizures."

McElraft insists the "Hope 4 Haley and Friends" bill does not legalize medical marijuana, rather "this is only a medicine for these children so that they can develop motor skills."

"I am adamantly opposed to marijuana, to the legalization of marijuana," McElraft said. "This is a hemp oil bill that's high in CBD, which is the healing part of the brain. But it's very low on THC -- less than 0.3 percent. You can drink a whole bottle of it and never get high."

The bill will have to go through two committees before it goes up for a vote in the House. If it passes the Hours, it will go to the Senate and then Gov. Pat McCrory.

"I am so excited that hopefully we're going to find something that will make their lives happy again and where these babies these children are able to get through a day without a seizure," McElraft said.

Some families say they have been waiting years for this moment, and they are anxious, nervous and excited all at the same time. Moreover, because lawmakers weren't moving fast enough, several of them have already moved out to Colorado where it's legal.

The Carlins' daughter has a severe form of epilepsy and none of her medications have been working, so they have been waiting and hoping for a lawmaker to take up their cause.

"The seizures are ripping apart her liver, her internals, and it's just doing so much damage to her," Steve Carlin said, adding that he is at his wits end.

Liz Gorman moved with her daughter to Colorado away from her husband in Raleigh after hearing about CBD oil through other families with epileptic children.

"It's not fair to make her have to be separated from her father any more than we already do as part of his military career," Gorman said.

Dylan Morley also moved out to Colorado Springs, but from Wilmington. He said, "I'd like to see the legislators really educated on the subject."

The Gormans and the Morleys will also be paying close attention this week to McElraft's bill. If passed, they said they might come back home.

For the Carlins, if the bill doesn't pass, they plan on moving to Colorado.

"I can't wait around any longer. Tomorrow can be her last, every day can be her last day. Every two weeks I’m reading about a kid with Dravet Syndrome, or LGS, dying," Carlin said.

A family from Raleigh, is also in the process of moving to Colorado. George Dabaghi and his family are planning to leave July 1st, and said they can't wait for lawmakers to decide. "Nothing's worked on Michael. We've tried for six years. Today has been rough. He's pretty much had five hundred seizures today alone."

George Dabaghi said if the bill passes, his family will move back to North Carolina, because all of their friends, family, and support system is already here. 

When WNCN talked to a few lawmakers about the bill, representatives like Jimmy Dixon from Duplin County said he would support it despite being against anything related to Marijuana, because he trusts Representative McElraft's judgement. "I would give serious pause and consideration to those things she introduces" said Dixon.

Rep. Kelly Alexander (D-Mecklenburg County) also introduced a broader medical marijuana bill last week that covers CBD oil as well.

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Eileen Park

Eileen joined WNCN after years of working as a foreign correspondent. During her time off, she enjoys relaxing with her dogs, reading, and exploring the Triangle. More>>

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