DOVER — Gov. Jack Markell signed into law last week a bill allowing children to use marijuana oil for epilepsy and other similar debilitating conditions.
Passed unanimously by both chambers of the General Assembly, Senate Bill 90 is intended to reduce pain and other symptoms for individuals suffering from select major afflictions relating to serious uncontrollable movements, such as dystonia.
The proposal was introduced specifically with a focus on one young Delawarean: 9-year-old Rehoboth Beach resident Rylie Maedler. Rylie began suffering epileptic seizures after having surgery to remove a bone tumor.
The bill was introduced by Sen. Ernie Lopez, R-Lewes, who thanked the Maedler family and supporters for helping the legislation find approval in the General Assembly.
“We have a lot of smart people in this building, and a lot of smart people worked together to make sure we did this the right way,” Sen. Lopez said at the bill signing, according to a news release. “I have to say, in the classic sense of Delawareans coming together in helping fellow Delawareans, this was a joint effort. It’s helping not just children like Rylie but helping future generations of children.”
Marijuana oil, an extract of cannabis, has been found to help individuals suffering from severe pain. The new law limits the amount of THC, which results in the high from cannabis, to 7 percent, below the threshold that causes a user to get high.
With a doctor’s approval, individuals can get identification cards identifying them as such to ensure they can only receive marijuana oil for their condition. The oil will be available at the First State Compassion Center, the state’s only medical marijuana facility. The Wilmington center opened Friday.
The act is known as Rylie’s Law.
“Our entire family, we’ve watched her suffer and it’s not fair for her,” Rylie’s mother, Janie, said. “And this will help. The cannabis oil helps for pain and inflammation and the seizures, so it not only is addressing her seizures but it’s addressing a lot of other problems. We want her to have a chance to be a little girl.”