This post from Reporter.Net reports that an irrational fear of a related issue killed an important cannabidiol bill in the Indiana General Assembly last week.
Reactionary fear of a related issue killed an important bill in the Indiana General Assembly last week.
The bill would have cleared the path for research of industrial hemp, but more importantly would have legalized the medicinal use of oil extracted from marijuana. The non-psychoactive marijuana extract cannabidiol can be used to treat children with severe epilepsy, providing a measure of much-needed relief from their painful and sometimes debilitating condition.
The bill met zero opposition in the House of Representatives, with some conservative Republicans even voting in favor. But when it reached the state Senate, it was stopped cold. Under pressure from the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council, which opposes any measure that relaxes marijuana laws, the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources tabled the bill. (No legislators from the Madison County area serve on the committee.)
This is a classic case of fear trumping reasonable thought and concern for the greater good. To deny suffering children relief from a medical condition because of an irrational fear that approving cannabidiol will lead to legalization of pot suggests the Senate committee wasn’t thinking clearly.
In a report in The Herald Bulletin on the failed bill last week, the father of a 7-year-old boy afflicted by epilepsy expressed his frustration with Indiana lawmakers.
“This is reefer madness,” Brian Bennett said. “We shouldn’t be making decisions based on scare tactics.”
Bennett moved from Indiana to Colorado specifically so that his son could get relief from his 200 seizures a day through cannabidiol treatments.
More than two dozen states have legalized the medicinal use of cannabidiol. As usual, Indiana lags behind in enlightened thinking.
Research cited on the Epilepsy Foundation website estimates that 326,000 U.S. children under the age of 15 have some form of epilepsy. Among all U.S. citizens, an estimated 1 in 26 have suffered from or will suffer from some form of epilepsy in their lifetime. That means about 254,000 of the 6.6 million Hoosiers alive today will be afflicted.
Why wouldn’t Indiana law enable Hoosier children with the most severe afflictions to use cannabidiol? It defies reason.