When it comes to motivating lawmakers, doctors, or nearly anyone to do something they would rather not do, a sick child can often do the trick. When it comes to Florida legalizing medical marijuana, ill children certainly played a role. Last week, lawmakers in the Southern state approved a cannabis-based treatment using cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive derivative of marijuana, shown to be effective at treating violent seizure disorders, particularly in children.
“They definitely made a difference in many people’s lives today. It was historic,” said Ron Watson, a father and lobbyist, who lost his son to leukemia at the age of eight.
For many parents, CBD offers peace to their children who are unable to find solace in big brand pharmaceuticals.
Known as “Charlotte’s Web”, many parents of children with severe epileptic seizures have been moving from their home states to gain access to the medicine. Known as “marijuana refugees”, these families are largely headed to Colorado, where both medical and recreational marijuana are legal and far easier to obtain.
“Charlotte’s Web” is low in THC (the compound in marijuana that gets you high) and high in CBD (the compound that is known to stop the seizures). For children who have received dozens of prescriptions to no avail, this marijuana-derived medicine offers greater help than anything.
“I’m a parent and a grandparent,” Fl. Gov. Rick Scott told reporters on Thursday. “I want to make sure my children, my grandchildren, have the access to the health care they want.”
Scott plans on signing the bill when it crosses his desk, according to Reuters. The Senate voted 30-9 to pass the legislation and the House voted 111-7 one day earlier, both showing refreshing cooperation between political parties.
Part of the reason this bill was able to pass is that it is so limited. It does not allow for the medicinal smoking of marijuana, only the oil or vapor extract of these marijuana compounds that lack the ability to get you high. For some lawmakers, taking the fun-aspect out of marijuana made it more appealing.
But not all are convinced.
“This could be the rifle shot that starts a massive avalanche,” said Rep. Dennis Baxley who voted against the legislation. He, like others, are worried giving children life-sustaining medicine could somehow lead to reefer madness.