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Ind. Medicinal Cannabis Law Begins, But No Access Yet

The majority of U.S. states have cannabidiol oil available as treatment for epilepsy.

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Indiana’s first medicinal cannabis legislation went into effect last week, but some key provisions of the law have yet to be put in place, worrying parents whose childrens’ lives just might depend on it.

During the summer, Jess Hooker and her 11-year-old daughter Addi love to garden in the backyard when there’s good weather. Hooker has tried to take advantage of the time she’s had with her daughter this summer, especially since Addi has been seizure-free for more than two weeks.

Addi has a rare form of epilepsy. It’s refractory, which means that even if a medication works great in the beginning, eventually, it’ll fail.

The new law legalizes the use of cannabidiol oil, or CBD oil, to treat Hoosiers with epilepsy. The oil is a non-psychoactive form of cannabis with a low percentage of THC.

Hooker started giving her daughter a legal form of CBD oil without THC last October.  She says it’s been difficult because they haven’t been able to get any input from their doctor.

“When you have a child with a refractory illness, then you have to become their advocate, but then you become their pharmacist and their doctor and their caregiver, all of these things that come with it,” she says.

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Indiana legislators have considered the legalization of CBD oil for the past 7 years.  And in April, Governor Holcomb signed lawmakers’ most recent effort into law. The bill creates a registry for Hoosiers to legally obtain the oil, but it looks like, after 7 years, they might still be waiting.

An Indiana State Department of Health spokesperson says the department is still early in the development process and expects the registry to be rolled out in mid-February. Hooker is frustrated. While they’ve found a medication that works for Addi at the moment, they’ll have to wait for the chance to get CBD oil legally from their doctor without the stigma.

“I’m disappointed because there’s a lot of parents in Indiana who didn’t want to order CBD oil from a dispensary in Colorado like we did, they didn’t want to do that. They wanted to go through their doctors, they wanted to have the prescription,” she says.

For now, Hooker is hoping her current brand of CBD oil works for Addi. If not, she’s considered moving the family to Colorado to get a more powerful oil, at least until the registry is up and running.

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