Bill Submitted in Delaware to Expand Medical Marijuana to Juveniles

Bill Submitted in Delaware to Expand Medical Marijuana to Juveniles

UPDATE June 23: Governor Markell signed Senate Bill 90 into law on Tuesday June 23, 2015 at 1:30pm in his Legislative Hall Office in Dover. The bill’s sponsors joined him for the signing. Licensed physicians in Delaware will now be permitted to recommend Cannabidiol (CBD) oil to juveniles suffering from qualifying conditions.

Read the story below to learn how the bill earned support from lawmakers.

Delaware lawmakers are considering new legislation that has the potential to give 9-year-old Rylie Maedler (photo below) and others like her a new lease on life.

Rylie Maedler delaware

This week, proposed legislation that would allow juveniles suffering from certain conditions, which cause seizures, to have access to medical marijuana in oil form took a step forward. Backers of Senate Bill 90 touted the fact that the strains used to make this specific kind of cannabis oil will not get the children “high.”

Of the 23 states where medicinal marijuana has been legalized, only 2 of them do not allow juveniles to have access to the plant in any form. Delaware is one of them.

The bill’s primary sponsor, Sen. Ernie Lopez reported:

“To be perfectly honest with you, I had some concerns about it, but that being said, I kind of took my public policy hat off and thought as a parent. Then I thought, I would be doing everything possible to make sure my child was receiving the best possible healthcare.”

Lopez’s sentiments echo those of Maedler’s parents. Rylie was diagnosed with an exceedingly rare bone tumor in 2013. An invasive surgery to remove the tumor, which was eating away at her cheek bone, caused Rylie to suffer a stroke on the operating table. The stroke caused Rylie to start having seizures, and doctors quickly prescribed her several heavy pharmaceuticals which, according to Rylie’s mother only made matters worse.

rylie Maedler

Rylie’s mother, Janie Maedler, explained the complications caused by the pharmaceutical medications to lawmakers:

“She becomes exhausted, depressed, agitated, forgetful, her bones become painful, she stops eating, her teeth loosen, her jaw joints begin to deteriorate.”

Janie then emphasized,

“On these meds we’re going backwards in her progress.”

Nine year old Rylie also addressed legislators at the hearing, encouraging them to pass this law to give her the opportunity to be a “normal” child. She bravely stated:

“I’m afraid that I won’t get invited to parties or sleepovers, because it would be hard to keep up with them. I am scared that one day I will have a seizure and it would never stop. If I have the medicine, I think I would be almost normal again.”

Rylie Maedler

Under current Delaware regulations, medical marijuana treatments involve its use exclusively in plant form and are reserved for those 18 and over. If passed, Senate Bill 90 would grant access to medical marijuana in certain oil forms for minors who experience seizures. Qualifying conditions for the new treatments include epilepsy and dystonia, which are known to cause extreme muscle contractions and poor posture, among other repercussions.

Backers of Senate Bill 90 hope to see it pass by mid-June.

​photo credit: WMDT47

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