On Tuesday, May 27th, North Carolina Representative Pat McElraft introduced House Bill #1220, “Hope 4 Haley and Friends,” to the North Carolina Legislature. Haley is a little girl in Representative McElraft’s district with catastrophic epilepsy. We’ve been waiting so long for this to happen, and now the bill has 27 sponsors. If you are not familiar with this story, please refer to my blog posts beginning on January 17, then February 15, February 24, and March 10.
Children with catastrophic epilepsy and their families have been suffering needlessly because the treatment that has been most effective in slowing or stopping their seizures, a non-psychotropic oil extract from the cannabis plant, is illegal in most states. Families have been forced to live apart so that one parent can go to Colorado with the child for treatment, while the other stays home to work and support them. These children often have dozens of seizures every day, and without this treatment they will die, as traditional medicine has utterly failed them.
Here are two news reports that will give you the details on the new bill, one from WCTI-12, and the other from NBC-17 (WNCN). Haley, for whom the bill is named, is in the WCTI report, and our neighbors, the Carlins, are in the NBC-17 report. You can read the full text of the bill here. If you wish to stay up to date on this issue, be sure to follow the Carlins’ Facebook page at Zora’s Journey with Dravet Syndrome.
Now is the time for action. There will be many state legislators who will see a medical marijuana bill and automatically say no. This is further complicated by the fact that another representative has introduced a broad medical marijuana bill, and the legislators may conflate the two bills. Whether or not you support medical marijuana in general, the “Hope 4 Hayley and Friends” bill is a slam-dunk for any thoughtful, caring person, especially since the oil has no mind-altering effects and is, obviously, not smoked. We seem to have a lot of support in the state house right now, but the senate may be a different story. Please call or write to your North Carolina state senator to let him or her know that you support House Bill #1220. You can find out who your legislators are and how to contact them here. And remember to pray. Pray for passage of the bill, and pray that it will pass in time to help the children who are waiting.