House votes 98-0 to allow cannabis oil for Kentuckians suffering from epilepsy

03/26/2014 06:03 PM

The House unanimously approved a bill that — upon the governor’s signature — will allow Kentuckians to use a compound found within marijuana and hemp to treat seizures.

Senate Bill 124 was introduced by Sen. Julie Denton, R-Louisville. And it has been pushed by House and Senate judiciary committee chairmen, Rep. John Tilley and Sen. Whitney Westerfield, respectively, who have pushed the legislation to help a constituent, Clara Gilliam- an infant constituent who suffers a rare and life threatening seizure disorder.

The bill will be named in honor of Clara, and her parents Julie and Jerry were on hand in the House as the bill easily passed. Also attending was Rita Wooton and her son Eli who have attended committee meetings each time the issue has come up this session.

“It’s exciting to know that what the legislature did today is going to help a lot of children in this state,” said Clara’s father Jerry.

Wooton, who lives in Hyden in southeast Kentucky, shifted between smiles and tears of joy when speaking with reporters about the passage of the bill.

“I feel like we’ve won the lottery. I never thought it would happen,” Wooton said. “We’re going to seek treatment as soon as it’s available in this state. We’ve already made contact or met a physician at UK several weeks ago.”

Wooton’s family was just two-months away from moving out of the state to seek the compound — cannabidiol — in another state.

Both Tilley and Westerfield celebrated the passage of the bill with the families on hand after the vote, and they agreed that the measure will help other families who can’t afford to travel and seek medical refuge.

“We hope this will…allow them to stay home and get it and seek relief for their children that they deserve,” Tilley said.

The legislation will now head back to the Senate for their concurrence on the title change to the bill, and then to the governors desk.

While the bill is narrowly focused on the specific compound cannabidiol and will not allow the use of marijuana there have been other bills and requests this session for relief from the drug.

While there might be reservations about medicinal marijuana, Westerfiled and Tilley say they are open to having that discussion going forward.


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