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House approves hemp extract bill for medical use


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The Missouri House advanced a measure to allow for access to a substance derived from hemp plants that can treat epilepsy, marking the first time the body has approved any treatment options derived from cannabis.

Bill sponsor, Rep. Caleb Jones, R-California, says the bill is absolutely not a medical marijuana bill, because CBD oil has almost no THC in it, and cannot get a user high. CBD oil has been proven to treat “intractable epilepsy,” in children. Intractable epilepsy is defined as epilepsy that has not responded favorably to at least 3 different medications.

Rep. Caleb Jones
Rep. Caleb Jones

“This is for children suffering from intractable epilepsy,” Jones said. “It’s to give them a chance to have treatment and have some relief, and it’s the best way to go about it.”

The measure now moves to the senate where even some normally anti-marijuana lawmakers are feeling optimistic about passage. Sen. Ed Emery, R-Lamar, says he normally would oppose a medical marijuana bill, but that his concerns about CBD have been assuaged.

“Obviously I still need to look at the final version as it gets here and be thorough to make sure I haven’t missed anything,” Emery said. “But as of right now, my questions have all been answered in a satisfactory way. This isn’t about marijuana, it’s about something that can treat a disease.”

Sen. Eric Schmitt, R-St. Louis County, will handle the bill in the upper chamber. Schmitt’s son suffers from intractable epilepsy and suffers from daily seizures. Schmitt says he knows families with children suffering from epilepsy that are planning to leave Missouri for Colorado where CBD is available.

“I think this bill is totally separate from the medical marijuana debate,” Schmitt told The Missouri Times last week. “You can get relief, and it can’t get you high, and the state is prepared to promulgate rules to manage it effectively. This is about giving treatment to children that are suffering, very simple.”