The South Dakota House of Representatives killed a bill allowing one type of medical marijuana.
Senate Bill 171 allows a marijuana extract called cannabidiol or CBD to treat intractable epilepsy. It contains some THC, but proponents say it’s not enough to create a high. They say it can bring relief to children with seizure disorders. Opponents say the FDA is already studying CBD, and lawmakers should wait to make a decision until seeing results of clinical trials.
Representative Fred Deutsch says he had to weigh compassion verses science.
“As much as I am a compassionate man, I have to look at when I create laws, is there a foundation of science,” Deutsch says. “And I think right now as has been said previously by the representative from Moody County, we’re creating legislation without the foundation of science. We’re putting the cart before the horse. So I would oppose this bill this year. I would like to see it proven that this is efficacious, that the administration of this oil does indeed help with epilepsy.”
Proponents like Representative Karen Soli say families can’t wait.
“So what we’re facing here is a decision about whether or not we will save the lives in every sense of the word, give a life,” Soli says. “And also, these children do die from too many of these. And whenever they have a seizure, it reduces their brain activity. So we don’t have a year to wait. We don’t have a couple of months to wait. We don’t know. So this is about children who may not be around a year from now, two years from now when the FDA finally approves this.”
Representatives killed the bill with a vote of 25 to 43.