The state Senate has approved legislation designed to expand access to a drug derived from marijuana.
Advocates of CBD oil say it can be used treat seizures in children. The bill passed by the Senate Wednesday tries to address a gap in a previously enacted state law, by making it legal for people to possess the marijuana extract with permission from a doctor.
Some critics have raised concerns that the allowing the use of extract could open the door to legalizing medical marijuana – a claim state Senator Bob Wirch (D-Kenosha) tried to address Wednesday during debate in the Senate. “This is not a cannabis conspiracy,” he said. “This is a bill that was asked for by parents of children with serious health problems.”
The bill passed on a 31-to-1 vote, with Senator Duey Stroebel (R-Saukville) the lone “no” vote. In a statement, a spokesman said the senator believes access to the drug is a federal issue – noting that CBD oil is currently illegal under federal law. “The FDA and other agencies should continue their duty to research and ultimately prove, or disprove, the safety and effectiveness of all drugs. The senator believes marijuana products should follow the same process as all pharmaceuticals.”
State Senator Van Wanggaard (R-Racine), the sponsor of the proposal, said efforts are underway at the federal level to address the legality issue, and passage of the bill will make it so the state is positioned to let families access the drug once that is resolved. For now though, parents seeking CBD oil would have to cross state lines to states where it’s legal to sell the drug in order to obtain it.
The bill now heads to the state Assembly.