The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News

March 11, 2014

Carly's Law to be considered today by state Senate

— MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — A Huntsville legislator is workng on changes to a bill that he hopes will persuade the Senate to approve  the use of marijuana oil to treat children's seizures.

Republican Sen. Paul Sanford of Huntsville and other advocates plan today to unveil the changes for the bill known as Carly’s Law, which Sanford said should ease some concerns about the measure he has proposed.

Sanford's bill was on the Senate's work agenda Thursday, but the Senate broke for the weekend without getting to it. Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, R-Anniston, said he expects it to be back on the work agenda when the Senate resumes work this afternoon.

Families with children suffering from frequent seizures due to epilepsy have been visiting the Legislature for two months in an effort to emphasize the potential good marijuana oil can do and to dispel fears about its legalization.

Owens residents Kari Trisch Forsyth and her husband, Jeremiah Forsyth, are among the local families that have been making the five-hour round trip to the Statehouse. The Forsyths’ 8-year-old daughter, Chesney, suffers from seizures and has underwent brain surgery.

A press conference for the bill’s supporters is planned at 1 p.m. prior to today’s legislative session, according to Kari Forsyth.

Greg Gibbs of Madison has been pushing his granddaughter's stroller along the halls, introducing 19-month-old Charlotte Dalton to legislators and explaining that she has a form of epilepsy called Dravet Syndrome. Because of that, she suffers frequent seizures.

Charlotte’s mother and Greg’s daughter, Gina Gibbs Dalton, is an East Limestone High School graduate who resides in Madison.

“Each seizure causes brain damage, so we are fighting the clock,” he said.

Gibbs' family wants to be able to treat her seizures with a marijuana plant extract called cannabidiol, also known as CBD oil. Sanford's bill and similar legislation offered in the House by Republican Rep. Mike Ball of Madison do not legalize the oil, but give patients and their caretakers a justifiable defense if charged with drug possession. Those in possession of the oil would have to have written proof of a diagnosis such as a seizure disorder.

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