Lawmaker fighting for cannabis oil legislation

Published: Dec. 12, 2014 at 3:54 AM CST|Updated: Dec. 18, 2014 at 3:13 PM CST
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OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla._ Support is growing at the Oklahoma capitol for the medicinal use of cannabis oil.

The director of the state's drug agency is now backing a study that would make the oil available to sick children.

Representative Jon Echols (R-OKC) plans to secure the title Friday for legislation he plans to file in mid-January that will allow parents to receive low-THC cannabis oil for their children.

Echols says the legislation will be written specifically for kids with severe epilepsy. The debate hits close to home for Echols, whose 10-year-old niece has suffered seizures since she was a baby.

"These patients that have already been on, in some cases, dozens of medications are now seeing some results," said Echols, talking about the success of the drug.

The positive feedback from pediatric neurologists prompted Darrell Weaver, director of the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics, to voice his support, too, at the Capitol Building back in November.

"My position … and the Bureau of Narcotics is going to be that we support, we support the research and trials of CBD oil at a low non-intoxicating [levels]."

The recent support leaves many with pain issues wondering if they, too, will get access to the drug. The answer, at least for now, is no.

"When I stand up it feels like somebody is taking my hip joints and twisting them," said Tammy Boswell, Lawton, who was diagnosed with breast cancer back in 2011 and has suffered extreme pain ever since going through chemotherapy treatments.

Boswell is out of job, on disability and in a lot of pain. She's taking four prescription pills each day and praying she'll soon be able to try out cannabis oil.

"I'm for it 100 percent," said Boswell. "Give it to the people that need it, that [are] hurting."

Echols says Boswell's pain and the cannabis oil for kids with epilepsy are two separate issues.

"This [legislation] has nothing to do with medicinal marijuana," said Echols, who is fighting only for the ailing children. "They're at risk for sudden instantaneous death. This is a situation where you're taking drugs that you have to sign at the counter that these drugs could kill you."

Governor Mary Fallin has also voiced her support for CBD oil. If lawmakers approve the study, Oklahoma would join ten other states that passed similar legislation this year.