New Idaho program allows access to CBD oil to only 25 children with epilepsy

Governor Butch Otter vetoed legislation in April that would’ve permitted parents to administer CBD oil to treat seizures

There are thousands of children in Idaho suffering from severe forms of epilepsy and Governor Butch Otter will only grant access to CBD oil to 25 of them.

In an executive order issued in April following his vetoing of less-restrictive legislation, the Idaho program will allow up to 25 children access to Epidiolex—a cannabis-derived product making its way to the United States from a pharmaceutical company in the United Kingdom. To qualify, the children must have tried a minimum of four different anti-seizure medications, but still suffer at least four seizures monthly. The program is currently set to begin, but proponents of safe access in Idaho are undeniably unimpressed.

When Otter vetoed SB1146aa—the bill that would have simply provided a legal defense for the parents and guardians of children with intractable forms of epilepsy who chose to administer CBD oil to their children—his veto message stated:

 

It asks us to trust but not to verify. It asks us to legalize the limited use of cannabidiol oil, contrary to federal law. And it asks us to look past the potential for misuse and abuse with criminal intent.

 

It is important to note that “contrary to federal law” is actually something that Otter is quite comfortable with, given his 2014 stamp of approval on SB 1332, which effectively nullified federal gun laws in Idaho. Here his statement read:

“I signed it into law as a way of protecting our Second Amendment rights under the United States Constitution and indemnifying Idaho law enforcement officials from enforcing federal firearms or ammunition restrictions that conflict with Section 11, Article I of the Idaho Constitution.”

Otter has been in office since January 2007. While Idaho has never been known for its liberal politics, the cultural shifts in attitudes towards the medical benefits of cannabis over the almost decade in which Otter has been in office are now more common sense than progressive. Idaho’s cannabis laws remain some of the more draconian in the nation, where the plant is classified as a Schedule I hallucinogenic substance under the Idaho Uniform Controlled Substances Act. Stiff mandatory minimums permeate the penalty arena, where cultivating up to one pound of cannabis will leave you at minimum incarcerated for one year, with a maximum of five years behind bars. Possession of more than one pound or 25 plants is classified as drug trafficking. Even being high in public could get you six months in jail and up to a $1,000 fine.

Idaho’s Department of Health and Welfare has contacted all neurologists in the state to inform them of the possibility of their patients being one of the 25 fortunate enough to explore CBD oil as a treatment for their epileptic seizures.

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