Gardner Leads Bipartisan Group of Senators in Urging Colleagues to Join Effort to Provide Life-Saving Treatment to Epilepsy Patients

Washington, DC – Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), and Ron Wyden (D-OR) sent a letter urging their colleagues to join them in sponsoring the Therapeutic Hemp Medical Access Act of 2015, legislation that provides children and their families with access to life-saving seizure treatment. 

The Therapeutic Hemp Medical Access Act removes the outdated federal prohibition on harmless cannabidiol (CBD) oil – a non-psychoactive hemp extract with anticonvulsant properties – and leaves it up to the states to determine whether to allow access to CBD. Fifteen states, including Texas, Georgia, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Tennessee, have recently enacted laws that specifically allow access to CBD for seizures.  

Medicinal oils derived from CBD-rich hemp plants are administered orally and, when taken regularly, can save the lives of children with intractable epilepsy. In the letter, the bipartisan group of Senators tell the story of Charlotte Figi, a young Coloradan diagnosed with Dravet’s syndrome. All of the traditional medical treatments had failed her, but CBD reduced her nearly 300 grand mal seizures per week to almost zero. 

The letter reads, in part: 

“Those states that allow access to CBD have already recognized what Congress has not: CBD is not a psychotropic drug, nor is it recreational or medical marijuana. CBD is a harmless, natural oil extracted from hemp that should never have been classified as a controlled substance. 

“Families should not have to choose between breaking the law and watching their loved ones suffer.  S. 1333 is bipartisan legislation that has the support of nine of your colleagues.  We hope you will recognize that taking immediate action will help so many while hurting no one.” 

The full text of the letter can be found here.