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Proposal In The Works To Legalize Therapeutic Marijuana Oil

Picture of marijuana plant
Colleen Danger, via flickr, Creative Commons

A state lawmaker says she plans to introduce a bill to legalize a marijuana oil that could help treat childhood seizures.

Rep. Pat McElraft (R-Carteret) says she's in the process of drafting the proposal.  It would allow physicians to get an oil that contains a substance called cannabidiol (CBD), which is extracted from marijuana.  Researchers say the substance, which is not psychoactive, could help children with Dravet Syndrome.  The disorder can cause several seizures a day in young children. 

McElraft says the measure will make clear that only the oil would be legal in North Carolina.

"I am strictly against legalizing marijuana, but when I see these children, see the struggles, the sheer torture of these seizures, and how it is debilitating, it breaks my heart," McElraft says.

"We're working hard right now to get the research on it and see what the rules are.  I've contacted my sheriff to talk with the Sheriffs' Association, so I'm trying to hit all the bases and make sure that people understand that this is not an open door to legalizing marijuana."

The FDA has not approved cannabidiol as a medication, but McElraft says some families are moving to states like Colorado, where marijuana has been legalized, to get access to the oil.

Will Michaels is WUNC's Weekend Host and Reporter.
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