Kan­sas House ap­proves bill on CBD oil with THC

The Kansas City Star - - Local - BY JONATHAN SHORMAN [email protected]­chi­taea­gle.com

Two weeks ago, Scott and Gwen Hart­ley stood be­fore Kan­sas law­mak­ers and begged them to make it eas­ier for peo­ple with se­vere med­i­cal con­di­tions to use mar­i­juana-de­rived oil con­tain­ing THC, the chem­i­cal that pro­duces a high.

The Hart­leys lost their 17-year-old daugh­ter, Claire, in De­cem­ber. She suf­fered from a va­ri­ety of con­di­tions, in­clud­ing cere­bral palsy and epilepsy.

“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 law­mak­ers. “I know it would have helped her with some of the strug­gles in her life and it would help so many other kids, too.”

The House voted 89-35 Wed­nes­day to pass a bill that pro­vides pro­tec­tions in court for par­ents like the Hart­leys who want to give CBD oil with up to 5 per­cent THC to their chil­dren. It gives those same pro­tec­tions to adults with de­bil­i­tat­ing con­di­tions who want to use CBD oil with THC.

The bill says that in­di­vid­u­als charged with pos­sess­ing CBD oil with THC could de­fend them­selves in court by show­ing they have a se­vere med­i­cal con­di­tion and that they’re us­ing the CBD oil for their con­di­tion.

The House ap­proved the bill amid grow­ing dis­cus­sion of med­i­cal mar­i­juana among Kan­sas law­mak­ers, and some law­mak­ers con­tend the pro­posal rep­re­sents a move to­ward even­tual le­gal­iza­tion.

The bill is named for Claire, and the Hart­leys’ 12-year-old daugh­ter, Lola, who has con­di­tions sim­i­lar to Claire. The leg­is­la­tion must still pass the Se­nate be­fore go­ing to Gov. Laura Kelly for ac­tion. Sup­port­ers of CBD oil with THC say it can help re­duce seizures and serve as a more nat­u­ral pain re­liever.

But the Kan­sas Bureau of In­ves­ti­ga­tion, law en­force­ment as­so­ci­a­tions and the Kan­sas Med­i­cal So­ci­ety have lined up in op­po­si­tion. They say the bill would be dif­fi­cult to en­force and that CBD oil with THC lacks fed­eral ap­proval for med­i­cal use.

That hasn’t stopped par­ents of chil­dren with chronic con­di­tions and ad­vo­cates from cheer­ing the House vote.

“We’re re­ally ex­cited and I think that this bill is go­ing to im­pact a lot of peo­ple on a huge level,” said Bri­anna Baskervill­e, the par­ent of a child with an au­toim­mune dis­or­der and mus­cu­lar dys­tro­phy who says her child would ben­e­fit from CBD oil with THC.

The bill would pro­hibit the De­part­ment for Chil­dren and Fam­i­lies from at­tempt­ing to re­move a child from their home solely be­cause of the par­ent or child’s use of CBD oil.

The bill also al­lows in­di­vid­u­als charged with pos­sess­ing CBD oil with THC to show they or their chil­dren have a de­bil­i­tat­ing dis­ease as an af­fir­ma­tive de­fense in court. The in­di­vid­ual would also need to show a let­ter from a physi­cian that in­di­cates the per­son or child’s di­ag­no­sis.

House Ma­jor­ity Leader Dan Hawkins, R-Wi­chita, voted against the bill. He said all the leg­is­la­tion does is cre­ate an af­fir­ma­tive de­fense, say­ing it “doesn’t re­ally move the nee­dle.”

“That’s all it did. 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,” Hawkins said.

But sup­port­ers of the bill em­brace its limited scope.

Rep. Su­san Humphries, R-Wi­chita, said Kansans still won’t be able to buy CBD oil with THC or sell it or man­u­fac­ture it.

“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 Kan­sas Bureau of In­ves­ti­ga­tion says it doesn’t have the lab equip­ment needed to test THC lev­els in CBD oil. Pur­chas­ing the needed equip­ment would cost at least $257,860, it says.

Ed Klumpp, a lob­by­ist for sev­eral Kan­sas law en­force­ment as­so­ci­a­tions, said of­fi­cers have the abil­ity to de­tect if THC is present in CBD oil but aren’t able to tell if the con­cen­tra­tion is above or be­low 5 per­cent.

“We cer­tainly don’t want to be in the po­si­tion where the Leg­is­la­ture has said we want this to be avail­able for these peo­ple with these ill­nesses and then we take that from them to have it tested be­cause we think it’s over 5 per­cent and it’s not – and we’re the bad guy,” Klumpp said.

The pro­posal isn’t a done deal. It’s un­clear when or if the Se­nate will con­sider it.

Baskervill­e said she has “all the faith in the world” that it will even­tu­ally be ap­proved.

Klumpp said just be­cause a bill passes one cham­ber, it doesn’t mean that’s what the Leg­is­la­ture will end up ap­prov­ing. He said his as­so­ci­a­tions will keep rais­ing their con­cerns.

“Ul­ti­mately, it’s a pol­icy de­ci­sion they need to make,” Klumpp said. Jonathan Shorman: 785-296-3895, @jon­shorman

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