OKLAHOMA CITY,Okla. — A medicine linked to marijuana could soon be legal in the Sooner State.
The lawmaker says this is not a bill to legalize marijuana. The author of Katie’s Law says many people want to associate it with a step towards legalizing marijuana, but he makes it clear that it is anything but that.
Instead, it’s a medicine, a hope for his family that could mean the difference between life and death.
“I wish that she could be healed,” Steven Dodson says about his 10-year-old sister Katie, who suffers from Dravet syndrome, a pediatric type of epilepsy.
“Then all the sudden at 6 months of age, she had a seizure that lasted almost 2 hours and it almost killed her,” Kelli Dodson, Katie’s mother remembers. She describes having a normal pregnancy and a healthy baby.
Video shows a 2007 seizure Katie had. It’s one of 12 she has can get daily without her medication.
“She has been on over 20 medications in her life, she’s had brain surgery a couple of times, nothing has worked,” Kelli Dodson said.
Her current medications impair her speech and basic skills, and warn of side-effects like sudden death.
“It makes her different, and I would just like her to have other friends and to be able to play at the speed that other kids could play at and to be able to run around,” Steven says.
A new bill HB 2154, authored by Katie’s uncle State Rep. Jon Echols, would offer a small glimmer of hope.
“Katie’s Law is a bill that would allow children with severe epilepsy to take an oil, CBD with below .3 THC,” Echols says.
You may know it as cannabis oil, a derivative from the marijuana plant.
“What this oil is, it’s very high in the CBD content and very low in the THC content,” Echols said.
The THC content of marijuana is what gives users the feeling of being ‘high.’
“I wish I could tell you this is going to save my niece. I don’t know if it is, I don’t know if it’s not, but I know it’s helped a lot of kids and I know it could help children here in Oklahoma. The only thing that kills this bill is people not willing to look at what it really is. This is not a medical marijuana bill,” Echols says.
“This is just really our last hope that she can have a better quality of life,” Jason Dodson says.
The bill passed the House committee Tuesday morning; it is now headed to the House floor to be voted on.
The bill has received support from the Oklahoma Medical Association and the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics.