Wisconsin lawmakers are being urged to once again take action to help bring potential relief to those suffering from epilepsy and other conditions that cause seizures.
A public hearing Tuesday on a bill that would help open up access to CBD oil drew often emotional testimony from parents whose children may benefit from the drug. CBD oil, also known as cannibidiol, is a marijuana extract that can be used to treat seizures.
Lawmakers passed Lydia’s Law in 2014, which made it legal to use the medication. However, the change did not clear roadblocks that have kept patients from being able to legally obtain it, which has made it nearly impossible for families to still access the treatment. The latest legislation would make it legal to possess without a prescription, addressing issues at the state level that have restricted access. Changes in how CBD oil is regulated at the federal level are still pending.
Sally Schaeffer is the mother of Lydia, who inspired the original law and died shortly after it passed in 2014 at the age of seven. Through sometimes tearful testimony, she told lawmakers that Wisconsin needs to fix the mistakes made three years ago. “Give people what you promised to them three years ago,” she said.
Critics have argued the bill could open the door to legalizing medical marijuana in the state. However, state Sen. Van Wanggaard (R-Racine), a co-sponsor of the proposal, insisted the legislation does nothing to change to change marijuana regulations. He said the bill only allows people to possess CBD oil, and only if a doctor has certified that it’s being used to treat a medical condition.
A similar bill came close to passage last spring, but a final vote was blocked after some Senate Republicans raised concerns. Wanggaard said earlier this year that he believes the version up for consideration now has addressed those issues, and will help bring relief to the families who are seeking help obtaining CBD oil.