Gov McCrory signs 'Charlotte's Web' CBD oil law - | WBTV Charlotte

Gov McCrory signs 'Charlotte's Web' CBD oil law

6-year-old Haley Ward 6-year-old Haley Ward

An emotional signing in Raleigh today -- Governor Pat McCrory legalized CBD oils, a strain of medical marijuana that has shown to help kids with severe epilepsy.

"It's not really marijuana," he told Anchor Molly Grantham after signing the law.  "I know the headlines say marijuana, but this is hemp. There's only trace amounts of THC in the medicine. You can't get high.  I don't want to confuse the practice of using hemp for medicine versus the practice of using marijuana to alter someone's brain."

CBD oils have shown anecdotal evidence to help kids suffering from severe epilepsy.  Overjoyed families surrounded the Governor's desk as he signed the bill, clapping, laughing and hugging the second it was done.

"It doesn't feel real yet," said Sherena Ward, mother of 6-year-old Haley for whom the law is named.  "I need to be pinched.  It's exciting.  It's also emotional.  I want to hug and hug my daughter."

McCrory agreed.

"It's probably the most emotional signing of a bill I've had as Governor," he said.

As the new law says, to get CBD oils in North Carolina you'll have to go through a neurologist at either UNC, Duke or Wake Forest Hospitals and have had at least three other medications fail.  For now, it's not sure how natural CBD oils made from actual marijuana plants in Colorado will get to North Carolina. 

Until that's figured out, legislators say a pharmaceutical company making a trial CBD oil, called Epidiolex, will be rolled out immediately. 

All kids who sign up for this trial will be part of a study.  That data will then be used to learn more about how the medicine works best

When the natural version is sent to North Carolina, parents can immediately switch over if they desire.

Governor McCrory said it's good to see what works and what needs to be improved so it can be expanded in coming years.

"Do you think it could be expanded to be more inclusive?" asked Grantham.

"Oh, I hope it will be," McCrory said.  "That's why you have trial periods."

The bill sponsor, Republican Pat McElraft from Carteret County, says she's overjoyed at the spend it went through.

"When you look at these families and what they're going through – sometimes up to hundreds of seizures a day in their kids – there's no other choice," McElraft said.

For months WBTV has investigated CBD oils, even going to Colorado to see how they're made.  We've been trying to talk with McCrory about what he thought. 

When asked why he had said nothing until now, he said it's because of the fine line between recreational marijuana which alters a brain, and the knowledge that this medicine is something completely different.

He said it's clear this law, and CBD Oils are only helping the quality of life for kids.

"I think where we have to be careful is that this is not confused with recreational use in the term 'marijuana'," McCrory said.  "Frankly, this is hemp oil.  It's not really marijuana."

Four families were on-hand for the bill signing.  One was dad Bob Crawford, well-known in North Carolina as a bassist for the Avett Brothers.  His daughter, 4-year-old Hallie, ha a brain tumor and seizures.

"We've tried everything else for Hallie," he said.  "Nothing's worked. We feel like this may benefit and if it doesn't work for her, it will benefit other children.  It's a great start for our state."

Governor McCrory also said it's about education…. And letting the families who already uprooted their lives to get this medicine in a different state feel great about coming home.

"This was a grass roots efforts from the parents," he said.  "The parents had to educate the media, had to educate the legislators and had to educate this Governor."

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