Lawmakers debate bill that would allow medical marijuana for chi - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Lawmakers debate bill that would allow medical marijuana for children

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(WFSB file photo) (WFSB file photo)

On Wednesday, lawmakers discussed whether or not to allow medical marijuana use by children with serious illnesses.

The Public Health Committee took up the proposal on Wednesday morning.

The state has already shown a willingness with a similar bill already in place for adults.

Proponents said it would help sick children with conditions such as epilepsy.

"With marijuana, you can separate out the THC which is the chemical that causes people to get high," said Dana Haddox-Wright, a mother.

Haddox-Wright said her 5-year-old Daughter, Ella, suffers from severe seizures brought on by epilepsy. She said her daughter also has problems with the medication she takes for it.

"We want her to live a normal life where she doesn't have to worry about her liver enzymes going out of whack," Haddox-Wright said.

Haddox-Wright said that's why she joined some pediatricians, lawmakers and an epilepsy advocate in calling for the passage of raised Bill 5450, which would allow for the palliative use of marijuana.

Susan Meehan's daughter has a severe form of epilepsy, which causes her to have multiple seizures every day.

"She is off all medications, she's walking, she's talking, she has gained weight," Meehan said.

She and other parents are telling lawmakers that marijuana has made a huge difference for their children.

The state legislature's Judiciary Committee already voted in favor of minors using medical marijuana.

Republican Congressman Vincent Canderola was not among those in favor of it.

"Studies show that there is some success," Canderola said. "But I am generally concerned with the public policy of basically giving a license to children to smoke pot."

To pass, the bill would have to go through several other committees, including the Public Health Committee.

"We need pediatricians to weigh in on this -- I need to know what data is out there," said State Senator Terry Gerratana, who sits on the Public Health Committee.

Parents said their children are being sedated with barbiturates and Valium, and say cannabis reduces seizures and they are able to function better.

"They have done some studies on adults but there is little scientific evidence on children," said Pediatrician Dr. Sandie Carbonari.

If it is approved, marijuana for children would be in an oil or liquid form. There are 23 states that have medical marijuana laws, and Connecticut is the only one that doesn't allow children to use it.

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