State Reps. John Rogers (D- Mentor-on-the-Lake) and Wes Retherford (R-Hamilton) on Tuesday introduced House Bill 33, legislation to legalize medical cannabis oil to treat patients with severe forms of epilepsy.  

“This bill is simply about helping people,” said Rep. Rogers. “Thousands of individuals in our state, many of whom are young children, suffer from debilitating seizures caused by epilepsy. The amount of pain and hardship they and their families endure is deeply unsettling. This medication has been shown to significantly reduce the occurrence and length of seizures which leads to a greatly improved quality of life. This is not about legalizing marijuana; this is about making medication available in Ohio to treat those who need it most.”

The bill would allow seizure patients access to cannabidiol (CBD), medical cannabis oil, and grant them eligibility to participate in clinical trials conducted by specified medical institutions. This specific strain which would be made legal through House Bill 33 is extremely low in THC, the component that produces a high. Currently this form of medication is legal in Colorado, California, Florida, Washington and several other states.

The medication would be available to physicians to prescribe at several hospitals throughout the state including Case Medical Center, Cleveland Children’s Hospital, Rainbow Babies, Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, University of Cincinnati Medical Center and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.         

Rep. Rogers has been actively involved in forming policy that generates awareness and increases research and development for severe forms of epilepsy after meeting a young girl from his district with Dravet syndrome, a devastating form of the disease. Last General Assembly, Rep. Rogers’ legislation to establish Dravet Syndrome Awareness Day on October 16 was signed into law. 

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