Glasgow Daily Times, Glasgow, KY

State News

March 19, 2014

Hemp extract oil bill moves toward House passage

FRANKFORT — It’s now so close Rita Wooton can almost feel it — the day her 4-year-old son Eli’s life might become normal.

Eli has suffered “thousands and thousands” of severe seizures, sometimes hundreds in a single day. Rita and her husband, Ricky, have rushed Eli from their Leslie County home to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital at least 75 times, five by helicopter, when the seizures wouldn’t end and threatened Eli’s survival.

The frequency of the seizures has left Eli behind developmentally, too. He’s non-verbal and isn’t potty-trained.

“I just want a normal life. I just want a normal 4-year-old son,” said a tearful Rita Wooten following a vote by the House Judiciary Committee to support passage of a bill to allow Kentucky parents like the Wootons to legally obtain CBD oil, an extract from hemp or marijuana which has no psychoactive properties, but which has been shown to reduce such seizures.

Senate Bill 124, sponsored by Sen. Julie Denton, R-Louisville, has already passed the Senate and after the vote in the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday, it seems headed for passage in the House as well.

Committee Chairman Rep. John Tilley, D-Hopkinsville, and Sen. Whitney Westerfield, R-Hopkinsville, told the “heart-wrenching” story of a 6-month-old child in their community whose parents traveled to Oregon to obtain the CBD oil.

The alternative was a less effective drug, but that drug carried a side effect that could permanently damage little Clara Madeline Gilliam’s vision, perhaps destroying it totally.

But after her parents went to Oregon and started placing a few drops of the CBD oil under Clara’s tongue, Westerfield said, little Clara (for whom the bill is named) went from “dozens of seizures each day to almost none.”

The Wootons haven’t traveled to Oregon or Colorado where the substance is legally available, but they were prepared to. Now it probably won’t be necessary.

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