Columbia, SC (WLTX) A new South Carolina law allows the possession of cannabis oil, with a doctor's prescription, for the treatment of epilepsy. But there's a big problem—no one can get it. Federal law prohibits the cannabis oil, also known as CBD oil, which is made from the marijuana plant, from being shipped across state lines.
Tabitha Gregory was ecstatic when Gov. Nikki Haley signed the bill into law last month. Gregory's 4-year-old daughter Jenasis has intractable epilepsy, and is eager to try CBD oil to see if it will reduce the number of seizures that Jenasis has.
"There's one lady that, her child, she's even now making eye contact," Gregory says. "She's starting to sit up on her own, and she's been on the medicine for about a year now and she's down to about three seizures a week, which would be monumental for us, if we could get Jenasis down to three seizures a week."
The oil is available in Colorado, but cannot be shipped to South Carolina, or even taken out of Colorado.
Gregory says, "You feel hopeless, and it's even more sad that you know there's something out there that may be able to help her and we just can't get it."
Parents across the state and the nation are writing letters to the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services asking for legal access to CBD oil.
Even though it's made from marijuana, it contains almost none of the plant's mind-altering substance.
When South Carolina lawmakers passed the bill, they knew that families would not have immediate access to CBD oil, since it wasn't legal here until the governor signed it into law and it can't be shipped in. The law also created a study committee to determine how to grow the plants here and manufacture the CBD oil.
Chip Harriford's Columbia company is a contractor for doctors in Massachusetts. "We will be building and managing a facility in Massachusetts that will provide medical marijuana and medical marijuana oils," he explains.
He says it will take time for South Carolina to write the necessary regulations for the plants and the oil. "I would guess that the access will be much easier in the next three to four years, maybe as little as two years," he says.
That's an awfully long time, though, for parents whose children go through hundreds of seizures a day, who are hoping CBD oil will be the answer. Gregory says, "Unfortunately, it looks like we're going to have to move. We don't want to do that. We've been South Carolina residents our entire life. So we don't want to have to move from this state that we love. But we love our daughter more, and so we'll move if we have to."