Mother in favor of medicinal marijuana says child screams - News, Weather & Sports

Mother in favor of medicinal marijuana says child screams from seizures as 'her brain slowly dies away'

Eric Byrd (left) Sylvia Haas (center) Jill Haas (right) Eric Byrd (left) Sylvia Haas (center) Jill Haas (right)
Rep. Tim Moore Rep. Tim Moore
Josh Stanley Josh Stanley
Rep. Richard Benevenuti Rep. Richard Benevenuti
Jamie Montalvo Jamie Montalvo

FRANKFORT, KY (WAVE) - Doctors have given names to the seizures that 4-year-old Sylvia Haas has suffered when she was born, but her mother says they don't know why she has them.

"She continues to wake up at night screaming, and her brain slowly dies away," Jill Haas told the Kentucky House Health & Welfare Committee Thursday. "We took the risk of medicines, and none of them paid off. We are out of options."

But Eric Byrd believes he's found the answer for his 5-year-old son, Charlie: medicinal marijuana.

"When he looks at me in the eyes, when he talks, he actually talks, he just communicates with us," Byrd told lawmakers. But Byrd and his wife had to leave their home in West Liberty to move to Colorado to get it.

"Others will do the same, if you don't pass this medicinal marijuana bill," he said.

Byrd and Haas were part of a panel that Kentuckians for Medicinal Marijuana put together to urge passage of the proposal Sen. Perry Clark (D-Louisville) put forth that died in committee in 2012. Among the advocates; Josh Stanley, whose Realm of Caring Dispensary produces medicinal marijuana in Colorado.

"We operate as if we were under the auspices of the DEA, or the AMA or the FDA," Stanley told lawmakers

"Medical cannabis has absolutely no regulation right now," said Jamie Montalvo, director of Kentuckians for Medicinal Marijuana. "But this bill would set guidelines as to how it's produced, who can produce it, and who can get access to it."

But Colorado's recent legalization of pot for play could present problems.

"I would very much advocate the baby you all are proposing," said Rep. Tim Moore (R-Elizabethtown). "But you very much bring a lot of bathwater which you don't even want to discuss."

"Don't put the words recreational use when you come and talk to me," Rep. Richard Benevenuti (R-Lexington) told the witness. "I do not believe in recreational use."

Twenty-three states allow forms of marijuana for medicinal uses. "It's coming," Stanley said.

Prior to Stanley's testimony, Rep. Denver Butler (D-Jefferson County), a retired homicide detective, told colleagues he'd seen the pain of both drug abuse and of those suffering chronic medical conditions. He's not advocating medicinal marijuana, "only that we give this bill the healthy and informative debate it deserves on the House floor," he told the panel.

Committee Chair Rep. Tom Burch (D-Buechel) told WAVE 3 News last week Clark's bill would get its fair hearing, but that House leadership could not guarantee passage. He acknowledged that it faces tougher challenges in the Republican-controlled Senate.

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