Parents of children with seizure disorders talk at hearing for medical marijuana bill

Bill would allow doctors to prescribe marijuana extract as seizure treatment
Parents of children with seizure disorders talk at hearing for medical marijuana bill

Families filled a hearing room at the state Capitol Wednesday on a bill that would allow doctors to prescribe a marijuana extract to treat children with seizure disorders.

For many parents, the extract that Assembly Bill 726 would legalize may be a last resort to treat their children’s seizures.

Sen. Robb Kahl, D-Monona, introduced the bill after hearing from Amylynne Volker, whose son, Nic, has been dealing with epileptic seizures for much of his life. Nic is 9 years old and has spent nearly 800 days of those nine years in hospitals.

“He hasn’t had much of a quality of life, and he hasn’t been able to, you know, just live like a normal kid,” Volker said.

Volker told Kahl about the use of CBD oil, an extract of marijuana. Doctors say it is high in medicinal value, but low in THC, which is what makes pot smokers high on the drug. Kahl’s bill would make CBD oil a legal treatment option in Wisconsin.

Right now, many parents are considering moving to Colorado so they can treat their children.

“Current treatments for seizures have serious side effects or lose effectiveness over time, and they are very risky and they’re expensive,” Kahl said. “This is an alternative to those treatments.”

Medical marijuana legislation has run into opposition from Republicans, namely Health Committee Chair Leah Vukmir, R-Wauwatosa. Kahl’s co-sponsor is Rep. Scott Krug, R-Nekoosa.

Gov. Scott Walker has always been against medical marijuana. When asked specifically about this bill Wednesday, Walker said he was aware of it, but hasn’t been involved with it so far. He did say he’d take a look at it if it’s narrow enough in focus.