A bill introduced to Alabama legislature in 2014 has finally been signed into law. “Leni’s Law”, or HB61 as it is formally known, makes it legal for patients with debilitating seizure disorders to possess and use CBD oil with as much as 3% THC in it. This is a landmark step for the state, which currently has no other laws regarding legalizing the use of marijuana on any scale – even though there is a huge federal marijuana study happening within their state lines.
This bill came about not long after the introduction of the study of Epidiolex at the University of Alabama in Birmingham. The study uses a pharmaceutical grade CBD medicine that is approved by the FDA for testing. Since last year they have been studying the effectiveness of CBD on different types of epilepsy – and they have had some astounding results so far. Over half of the patients in the study saw a reduction in seizures by almost half on average – and when you’re having dozens or hundreds of seizures a week, that is an amazing difference.
Unfortunately, there just weren’t enough spots – or enough children that qualified for one reason or another – for all of them to find relief through this study. This left a large number of Alabama families still in desperate need of a way to offer their children the medicine they need – and for the family of Leni Young, that was enough of a reason to move across the country to live in Oregon where access to this medicine is legal.
The family’s tragic story caught wind and House Bill 61 or, “Leni’s Law”, was born, introduced by Republican Representative Mike Ball. Two years later, it has found itself on the desk of Governor Robert Bentley who was more than happy to sign the bill into law.
“As a physician, I believe it is extremely important to give patients with a chronic or debilitating disease the option to consider every possible option for treatment,” Governor Robert Bentley said. “With Leni’s Law, citizens in Alabama will have access to cannabidiol that may help with treatment. Through a study at UAB, we have seen the benefit of cannabidiol to help with chronic seizures. I hope we will be able to collect information that will determine the efficacy of this substance in other chronic debilitating diseases.”
Unfortunately, just like laws in many other states, including Georgia, this law simply doesn’t do enough for the patients as it does not offer a legal way for them to access the medicine without purchasing it out of state. On the other hand, at least these parents now have the option of doing so without fear that the state may take their children for choosing a medicine that happens to work, even though it is illegal.