September 18, 2014

House sends hemp oil legislation to the Senate

Missourians who suffer from treatment resistant epilepsy could be allowed to take an extract from cannabis under a law the House passed Thursday.

Representative Caleb Jones (photo courtesy; Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications)

Representative Caleb Jones (R-Columbia) sponsored the hemp oil bill.  (photo courtesy; Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications)

The bill would allow use of a hemp extract for treatment of epilepsy that a neurologist has determined is “intractable,” meaning¬†it has resisted treatment by at least three known seizure inhibiting medications. Such extracts are low in THC, the chemical that makes marijuana users high, and larger amounts of cannabidiol, or CBD, that is said to be effective in preventing seizures.

The bill would allow growers who are not-for-profit and would be licensed by the Missouri Department of Agriculture. The state could also certify universities to grow cannabis for the extract and for research on industrial hemp.

Representative John McCaherty (R-High Ridge) said the legislation represents something Missouri can do that would truly help people.

“During one of our committee meetings we had a family there and they had a little child that was in an infant seat and within just the matter of the 20, 30, 40 minutes that it took for us to have that committee meeting that child never stopped having a seizure,” said McCaherty. “This was the one thing that they were asking.”

Representative Glen Kolkmeyer (R-Odessa) says he’s been convinced since the bill received initial passage that the proposal is a good idea.

“I’ve received two e-mails from constituents whose children have had epilepsy and they basically say, ‘Just help us,’” says Kolkmeyer. “I wasn’t sure where I was going to vote on this the other day, but today I will support it.”

The bill would allow the use of hemp extract oil with no more than 0.3 percent THC and a minimum of 5 percent CBD. Users or their parents would have to have a state-issued registration card.

The proposal was sent to the Senate 139-13 with a clause that would make it effective immediately upon being signed by the Governor.