LANCASTER, Wis. - Families are one step closer to be able to access marijuana oil to treat seizure disorders, but still have concerns over whether they'll be able to access the extract.
Gov. Scott Walker signed a new measure Monday, legalizing possession of cannabidiol, or CBD, oil. The marijuana extract does not produce a high.
Walker signed the bill Monday in Burlington, home of Lydia Schaeffer, for whom a 2013 bill that aimed to ease restrictions was named. Lydia died a month later, having never used the oil.
The governor mentioned the issues with prior legislation at the bill signing Monday.
"Obviously talking to many of you and lawmakers, we saw that the language didn’t work the way it was intended to," Walker said.
The new legislation makes possession of the oil legal with a doctor's certification, but it is still against the law to produce or sell the oil in the state.
The measure passed the Republican-controlled Legislature with only one dissenting vote after a similar version stalled last session amid fears it would lead to full marijuana legalization.
Parents who have fought for access to the oil say they're not convinced this law will help them get it.
Nicole McLean and Kerin Colson both have sons in Lancaster who suffer from seizure disorders.
"I would just like him to be able to live in this world comfortably, to communicate, to tell me he loves me, say hi to people," said McLean, whose 12-year-old son, Evan, has Lennox-Gasteau syndrome.
News 3 first talked to McLean and Colson in 2013 when they were raising money to get a doctor to investigate the oil following the passage of "Lydia's Law," which required a doctor to get an FDA waiver to investigate the drug before families could access it.
Three years later, McLean is still fighting for Evan, who now has to wear a helmet to school to avoid head injuries he's faced for falling during some seizures. She's never gotten him the oil for fear of prosecution.
"In the back of my mind, I always have the fear of what if I do it and I get caught?" McLean said. "Am I going to go to prison? Who is going to care for my son? What's going to happen to him if I'm not there for him?"
The bill signed by Gov. Walker decriminalizes CBD at the state level, but families could still face federal prosecution.
The road ahead for Evan, and Colson's son Kaden, who recently had another brain surgery, is unclear.
The bill doesn't allow the sale or production of CBD oil in Wisconsin, so families will still need to somehow get it across state lines.
"Right now I like to say it's like lifting a ban on unicorns," Colson said. "It doesn't do us any good to do that if we still can't get it, can't get dosing information. Our hands are tied."
The families say their first step is to meet with their doctor to see about getting a certification to get CBD oil, and then see if they can find a supplier or a way to get the oil across state lines.
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