Carly's Law could help improve the lives of children with a rare genetic disorder. (Photo: MGN Online)
MONTGOMERY, AL (WAFF) -
The state senate unanimously voted to adopt "Carly's Law" on Tuesday, thanks in part to a last-minute development.
This law would allow doctors to use a substance derived from marijuana to treat patients. Tuesday, the sponsors of the bill announced what they called "a breakthrough development." Senator Paul Sanford said he hopes the changes will improve the bill's chance of passing.
Sanford, along with Representatives Mike Ball and Allen Farley developed a partnership with researchers in the University of Alabama at Birmingham's Department of Neurology to study cannabidiol, or CBD oil.
Supporters said they don't want this measure to get confused with anything related to marijuana. They said the CBD oil has one purpose, and that's to help children with a rare genetic disorder. The oil has been reported to reduce seizures in children. The oil would only be available with a prescription.
In Tuesday's announcement by the sponsors of the bill, CBD oil treatment would be available through UAB. The revised version of the bill establishes the university's neurology department as the only entity authorized to prescribe the treatment. Lawmakers plan to fund the study through a $1 million appropriation in the Education Trust Fund budget to UAB.
The bill does not outright legalize the oil. Instead, it gives caretakers a justifiable defense if charged with drug possession over the oil.
Senator Sanford said UAB's participation will ensure much-needed access to the drug in a way that contributes to the long-term study of its effectiveness. "I see this as a win-win for both those who desperately need a better way to treat debilitating seizures and the medical community who can gain valuable insight through further study of the drug," Sanford said.
"Families no longer have to travel long distances or worry about prosecution simply because they were trying to make things better for their children," said House co-sponsor Rep. Farley. "Carly Chandler and the Chandler family have been an inspiration to all of us, and I'm honored to help carry this bill in the House."
Tuesday night, the Senate voted 34-0 to approve the bill, which will now go to the House for debate.