“The people I’ve talked to about it seem very receptive to it,”
said the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Mike Ball (R-Madison). “It’s nothing like it was a couple of years ago when I started on Carly’s Law. This is a whole different dynamic.”
The law to which Ball was referring, Carly’s Law, was passed by the state legislature in 2014. It declared that the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) was to be the sole researcher and distributor of CBD oil, a single-cannabinoid medicine, within the state.
Limited and restrictive CBD-only laws like the ones enacted in Alabama, Georgia and Iowa are often criticized by experts because while CBD alone does help some patients, many conditions require multiple cannabinoids working synergistically in a process called the entourage effect or whole plant therapy to truly benefit from the medicinal use of cannabis.
The enactment of Carley’s law in 2014 led Alabama mother Amy Young to attempt to enlist her daughter, Leni, in the study at UAB. Leni, 4, suffers from brain damage due to a stroke that occurred before she was born. Though Young believed that CBD oil would be greatly beneficial to her daughter, Leni was not eligible to participate in the UAB study. As a result, Young packed up the family and moved to Oregon, where cannabis in all forms, from concentrates like low-THC, high-CBD oil to full potency solventless concentrates and dried flowers, are readily available in a legal market. Leni’s condition has improved greatly since incorporating the use of medical cannabis oil.
Alabama mom, Kari Forsyth, with her daughter Chesney, speaking on behalf of legalizing cannabis oil. (photo credit: Paul Gattis)
After hearing testimonials from other Alabama parents and witnessing firsthand the improvements experienced by Leni, Rep. Ball decided to take action by spearheading the push of a new law — which he has already dubbed “Leni’s Law” — to make CBD oil medically available in Alabama.
“I think it’s time to take this step and I’m going to do everything I can to get it done,”
“I think a lot of folks are going to come out of the woodwork to help me.”
Along with Sen. Paul Sanford (R-Huntsville), Rep. Ball also plans to start discussing the benefits of a federal reclassification or declassification of cannabis with Alabama legislators and residents.
Cannabis is currently a Schedule I substance in the United States, meaning it is listed among heroin and LSD as the “most dangerous.” Schedule I substances, defined as having no recognized medicinal value, have strict barriers in place which make them nearly unobtainable for reachers to run trials and study. Reclassifying or declassifying cannabis would open doors for researchers to finally determine the full extent of the cannabis’s medicinal value.