By Joan Murray

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Florida may be the next state to jump on the medical marijuana bandwagon.

Florida’s Republican-led Legislature has agreed to hear a bill, sponsored by state Representative Katie Edwards from Plantation, to allow medical distribution of the specialty strain, known as “Charlotte’s Web”, according to CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald.

The strain is high in cannabidiol, the ingredient that controls seizures, but is low in tetrahydrocannabinol which gives users a ‘high’. It can be ingested in oil form or vaporized in a feeding tube.

Rebecca Hyman, 8, has a rare genetic disorder that makes her prone to constant violent seizures.

Her dad dreads one will kill her.

“Sometimes they are minor, sometimes severe and you feel helpless as a parent,” said Seth Hyman.

Medication hasn’t worked, but Seth Hyman believes he’s found something that will.

This Thursday, January 9th, the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee will hold a workshop Thursday to hear from parents, growers in Colorado, and medical professionals about “Charlotte’s Web”.

“Charlotte’s Web” was named for a little girl who has been treated with the marijuana that’s extracted into an oil and injested to control her seizures.

Seth Hyman is going to be one of the parents speaking to lawmakers this week.

“What we’re asking is them to look at this specific form that doesn’t have the potency to stone an ant,” Hyman added.

Hyman has set up a website with more information. Click here to visit the site.  

“A seizure is a loss of consciousness that is accompanied by twitching or jerking of the body,” said head of Neurology and Director of the Epilepsy program for Memorial Health System, Dr. Tarek Zakaria.

Dr. Zakaria sayid while there is anecdotal success of this type of marijuana more research is needed to prove its effectiveness.

“We need more studies to be sure we are not hurting people and doing some good,” said Dr. Zakaria.

Edwards said her bill would authorize research and development of the marijuana strain at one of Florida’s state universities and have it tightly regulated. She hopes the partisan politics over the constitutional amendment doesn’t spoil the bill “because I think it’s wrong to tell a family you can’t have access to something you know could help your child,” she told the paper.

If the bill passes, it is just one hurdle in the process.

The state Supreme Court has until April 1 to make a decision on whether the amendment will appear on the ballot.

Attorney General Pam Bondi’s office is against the proposal because they say that allowing marijuana for medical reasons would go beyond what voters would be led to believe. They point to the ballot summary says medical marijuana would be used for debilitating diseases, but the full language of the amendment allows it to be used for debilitating conditions.

Another deadline that must be met occurs at the end of this month. The group pushing the measure, People United for Medical Marijuana, has to gather nearly 700,000 certified petition signatures by February 1st in order for it to appear on the ballot if it both passes in the legislature and gets the high court’s approval.

There are several locations across Miami-Dade and Broward where supporters can sign up.


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(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press and The Miami Herald contributed to this report.)


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