Her kid needs CBD to control his seizures. A new Iowa law makes it a crime

Her kid needs CBD to control his seizures. A new Iowa law makes it a crime

In an attempt to prevent Iowans from accessing the THC in edible hemp, Republicans have now made it illegal for parents to give their children CBD, for some the only seizure medication that works.

Dallas Center mom Erin Farquhar remembers lobbying Iowa lawmakers years ago to legalize the CBD medication she needs to keep her son’s seizures and behavior problems stable.

But on Friday, Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a new rule that criminalizes the only drug that can help him.

What is the new law?

Faced with the proliferation of hemp-derived THC, thanks to the latest farm bill that opened up the hemp industry, Iowa Republicans wanted to curtail the products Iowans could get.

But the lobby helped kill that part of the bill (which I wrote about here ), and products like THC drinks won’t really be affected.

What will be affected, however, is cannabidiol, or CBD. It has been used in various medical ways in other states, and in Iowa’s limited medical cannabis market, it has been found in scientific studies to be helpful in reducing the severity of seizures in people with complex medical conditions, such as the son by Farquhar.

But the bill now bans anyone under 21 from possessing or consuming it, and makes it a crime for a caregiver to give it to their child. This means that every time Farquhar gives his 11-year-old son the only medicine that works, they will both be breaking the law.

“I have concerns about this bill and have heard from people and groups on both sides of the issue,” Reynolds said in a statement. “Ultimately, I am signing this into law to protect minors from dangerous and intoxicating products.

“At the same time,” Reynolds added, “we have taken steps to ensure that children who are drug-resistant and suffer from seizures and other medical conditions continue to have access to consumable hemp alternatives for relief.”

It is not clear what “steps” were included, as the law does not make any exemptions for such children, or their caregivers.

Farquhar and others from the Epilepsy Foundation met with Reynolds staff members, trying to get an amendment to the bill or a last-minute veto.

“The fact that the Iowa legislature has essentially made it illegal for me to give it to my son because he’s under 21 is ridiculous,” Farquhar said.

Read: Tough: Lowa Republicans tried to crack down on THC drinks

Abram’s CBD journey

Farquhar’s son, Abram Miller, was born with a mutation in one of his genes, UBE2A. This led to a whole host of medical complications for baby Abram.

“He had his first seizure around his first birthday. He couldn’t walk, he couldn’t crawl,” Farquhar said. “There really weren’t a lot of doctors who knew what to do for him.”

Finally, a neurologist took her to an empty hospital room and told her that while he couldn’t officially prescribe it, patients like Abram had seen successful treatment with CBD. At the time, the closest state to getting it was Colorado.

“So I started my son on CBD in 2015 when he was only three years old,” she said. “And while she still has abnormal activity in her brain, she hasn’t had an ambulance ride or a major seizure in nearly nine years.”

Read: Iowa gets lost when people cross the border for Illinois’ legal marijuana

Erin’s Advocacy Journey

Seeing how CBD made a big difference in Abram’s life, Farquhar has become an advocate for its legalization over the years, meeting with state lawmakers to educate them about the benefits Abram is seeing. and the need for it to be and remain legal to help children with autism and other conditions, too.

The new law, however, places restrictions on any “consumable hemp” products. Not only does it make it a misdemeanor to “sell, give, or otherwise distribute a consumable hemp product to a person under the age of twenty-one,” it also imposes civil penalties and “unpaid community service.” for people under 21 who consume. or possess it.

And that’s not even counting the state and federal laws Farquhar breaks every time he drives to Colorado to re-up Abram’s medication, which he continues to do even with the CBD oil available in Iowa.

“I can’t afford the CBD that’s in the [Iowa] dispensary,” Farquhar said.

He said a 2-ounce bottle of CBD oil is $150 in Colorado, while that amount at a dispensary in Iowa would cost him $520, and he would have to switch brands, which he hates to do.

“The Epilepsy Foundation [says] once you find a medication that works for your child with seizure control, don’t switch, because you may never get that seizure control back,” Farquhar said. He said the Iowa dispensary’s CBD products they also included sucralose, a “known seizure trigger.”

Read: Biden pardons thousands of Americans convicted of marijuana possession

“really scary”

Farquhar was disappointed that lawmakers didn’t seem to care about families like his.

“We really fought to get it here in Iowa 10 years ago. And now, it’s like there are new people in there who have never heard our story, who have no idea who we are or what CBD does to help families like mine,” she said.

Farquhar said the new law puts an unnecessary target on the backs of parents trying to help their children.

“Just, in general, to make it illegal for me to even let my child have it, it’s really scary, and it puts parents with these medically complex children in a pretty gray area of ​​danger for legal repercussions Farquhar added. . “It’s really scary to think about it.”

  • Amy Rivers

    Amy Rivers

    Amie Rivers is Starting Line’s Community Editor, Labor Journalist and Head of Newsletter. Previously, she was an award-winning reporter at the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier; now, he really likes making TikToks and memes. Send all pet story tips and photos to [email protected] and subscribe to our newsletter here.

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