The Kansas House of Representatives approved a bill on Wednesday that would allow the use of CBD oil with small amounts of THC by people with debilitating medical conditions. The measure, House Bill 2244, was passed by a vote of 89-35 early on Wednesday morning. The bill will now head to the state Senate for consideration.
HB 2244, also known as “Claire and Lola’s Law,” would give a legal defense to adults with debilitating medical conditions who use CBD oil containing up to 5 percent THC or the parents of seriously ill children who do so. Rep. Susan Humphries, a Republican from Wichita, said that sick people in the state should have the option to use cannabidiol medicinally.
“CBD oil is a remedy,” Humphries said. “It’s a medical treatment that many families in Kansas would like to use for their children with debilitating diseases or their selves.”
The bill is named for Claire and Lola Hartley, two sisters with a rare condition known as microcephaly which causes children to be born with underdeveloped brains and abnormally small heads and can lead to a host of other serious medical conditions. The girls’ parents, Gwen and Scott Hartley, say that CBD oil could help save 12-year-old Lola’s life. Claire, who had cerebral palsy and epilepsy, died in December of last year at the age of 17.
“I guess the most disappointing thing for me is that we weren’t able to try the low THC CBD oil with her,” Scott Hartley told members of a House committee two weeks ago. “I know it would have helped her with some of the struggles in her life and it would help so many other kids, too.”
Another parent, Brianna Baskerville, said that she believes CBD oil with THC could also help her child, who has muscular dystrophy and an autoimmune disorder.
“We’re really excited and I think that this bill is going to impact a lot of people on a huge level,” said Baskerville after the House approved the measure.
Not a Legalization Bill
HB 2244 would not legalize cannabis cultivation or the production or sale of CBD oil, leaving no way for patients to legally obtain their medicine. Instead, the bill only provides an affirmative defense in court for someone who can prove that they or their child have a debilitating condition that they were treating with CBD oil. A letter from a doctor indicating a diagnosis would be required. The measure would also prevent the Kansas Department of Children and Families from attempting to remove a child from a home solely because of CBD oil use by a parent or child.
House Majority Leader Dan Hawkins, also a Republican from Wichita, said that the bill does go far enough and voted against it, saying that it “doesn’t really move the needle” to only allow an affirmative defense in court.
“That’s all it did,” said Hawkins. “So why wouldn’t we have done something that’s actually a solution to the problem instead of something that’s just a band-aid or something.”
Predictably, Claire and Lola’s Law is opposed by the Kansas Medical Society, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, and law enforcement groups, who plan to lobby against the bill’s passage in the state Senate.