Davis backs bill on hemp, cannabidiol oil
WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, is co-sponsoring a bill that would remove therapeutic hemp and cannabidiol oil from the definition of marijuana, and allow it to be used to treat children and individuals with epilepsy.
Davis is the fourth co-sponsor of HR 5226, introduced Monday by Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa.
"If one of my children suffered from seizures, I couldn't imagine being told by a doctor that we've run out of options or being forced to split up my family to send a child to a state where (Cannabidiol oil) is available and legal," Davis said in a statement. "While the state of Illinois has taken steps to legalize the use of supplements like CBD for medicinal purposes, not all states have followed suit. This bill is a narrow, commonsense approach to give individuals and families in all states the access to this potentially life-changing supplement to help treat and deal with seizure disorders."
Therapeutic hemp is defined as having no more than three-tenths of 1 percent of THC, the chemical most responsible for marijuana's psychological effects. With levels that low, it is said to have no hallucinogenic effects.
Davis spokesman Andrew Flach said the congressman was prompted to support the measure because "it's a family and quality of life issue."
"There is a safe product that has been found to help control seizures in children and other individuals, so it should be made available, regardless of the state in which you reside," he said. "Specifically in Illinois, this legislation could help speed up the availability of the oils as the state continues to work on implementing the rules from the new medical marijuana law."
More than 300,000 children in America suffer from some form of epilepsy, according to supporters of the bill. Many of these children experience more than 100 violent seizures a day — any one of which could be fatal without proper care. There is evidence that CBD oil has been shown to reduce the amount and duration of seizures in children suffering from epilepsy and other seizure disorders, they say.
The "Charlotte's Web Medical Hemp Act of 2014" is an incremental approach to providing relief to those suffering from ailments that could benefit from CBD oil and therapeutic hemp, say advocates.
The Epilepsy Foundation supports the legislation.
"The Epilepsy Foundation has supported access to CBD oil, which is showing dramatic results for some patients," said Philip M. Gattone, president and CEO of the foundation. "Access to a lifesaving treatment should not be determined or limited by zip code."
Earlier this year, Davis supported an amendment to HR 4660 to prohibit federal interference with state's laws that permit the use of medicinal marijuana. The amendment was adopted by the House.
Then, two weeks ago, he supported an amendment to HR 5016 to allow legitimate marijuana-related businesses that operate according to state law to access the banking system by stopping regulators from prohibiting or penalizing financial institutions from providing services to those businesses. That amendment also was adopted by the House.