I-Team: Marijuana extract bill passes Wisconsin legislature

Allows people to use oil to treat illness
Posted at 10:45 PM, Mar 07, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-07 23:45:34-05

A marijuana extract will soon be legal to possess in Wisconsin.  It's been a three year battle to bring state lawmakers on board to allow people in Wisconsin to use the oil to treat medical conditions.

The I-Team's Courtny Gerrish has been following this story from the beginning.  She watched today's vote in the Assembly with the Burlington mom who started this fight in hopes of saving her daughter. 

"I couldn't let the debate go forward unless I mention the name of Lydia Schaeffer."   Those words from the Assembly floor hit home for Lydia's mom, Sally Schaeffer.   She and her husband Tom watched the vote from home.  It's the end of a three year battle to make possession of CBD oil legal in Wisconsin.

Sally first started this journey to help her daughter Lydia who suffered from seizures.  "Lydia's Law" passed in 2014, but Lydia died before she could try the oil.  And because of a loophole in that law people have still not been able to legally use CBD oil.  "It's been a long road for Wisconsin; three years to finally move this way," Sally pointed out.

The oil is a marijuana extract known to calm seizures and help with other medical conditions.  It can be very low in THC, meaning users don't get high.

An author on the bill, Republican State Representative Scott Krug, told the Assembly today, "the value of what the oil does and the value of how families are able to have that conversation with their doctors without fear is a big reason we're all here voting for this bill today."

Families like Sherry and Chad Mickelson in Milwaukee.  Their daughter Ella is nine.  She's autistic and for the first time a year ago started having seizures.

"It was a very scary moment," her mom shared.  Ella reacted badly to the pharmaceutical drugs prescribed so she's only on a low dose.  Not the level recommended to control seizures. Sherry has been thinking about trying the oil but was afraid she could lose her daughter. "If someone were to see it in our home .and didn't quite understand what we're doing they could report us."

Today's unanimous vote in the Assembly changes that.  Now the Mickelson's plan to talk to Ella's doctors about trying the oil.  "It would help her with mood, it would help with appetite, it would help with seizures," Sherry told us.

Bringing hope to other families is what the Schaeffer's fought so hard for,  "It feels good to help other people," Lydia's dad, Tom, said.  "And there's not a better feeling ever, and it's great now in Lydia's honor we can start to help people."

But today is bittersweet because they lost so much along the way.  Sally tearfully told us, "I hope she's proud.  I hope she's proud of everything that we did." 

The bill makes the oil legal to possess, with a doctor's certification, to use for all medical conditions.  The next stop is the governor's desk.  Governor Walker has said he will sign the bill.

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