Butch Otter vetoed a bill in 2015 that would have given people who suffer severe uncontrollable seizures in Idaho access to the cannabinoid oil for seizures.
Butch Otter still says no to desperate patients
Governor Otter might be given a chance by the state legislature to sign a CBD bill in 2017, but as he explained to Reason.com, he will veto it again.
Otter told reporters there had been no change in his opinion. The strangest thing is Otter’s change of viewpoint in the past few years. He used to be a proponent for legalization earlier in his political career, which spans decades. Since the 70’s until he became governor in 2006, he was all for marijuana. And then? What happened?
Why the change in stance?
When reporters investigated his change in stance, it became apparent that lobbyists for law enforcement groups and big pharma played a significant role in his change of mind. The outcome of his change in perception left many patients in Idaho suffering from untreated intractable seizures, and with less choice of treatments.
Otter vetoed the bill on CBD at the same time he ordered a clinical trial for the cannabis-based medicine, Epidiolex, for Dravet syndrome and other refractory epilepsy conditions causing severe grand mal seizures. GW Pharmaceuticals, a British company is trying to gain FDA approval for the drug in the US. Otter and his followers showed preference for the drug because production is standardized and it can be controlled, whereas CBD oil can’t.
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Otter happy with epilepsy medicine trial
Otter made a public statement saying the trial showed positive results. That is great for the 25 kids allowed to participate. That number was later increased to 38. Unfortunately, it doesn’t help patients like Josh Phillips, 20 years old, or other patients not qualifying for inclusion in the trial.
Another such a patient is Katie Donahue, from Idaho who has prayed to die, rather than having the seizures she has to cope with. She said she feels extremely sad that Otter is denying her and fellow Idahoans, especially children, the chance of having successful treatments with cannabinoid oil for seizures as they do in other states where there is “freedom and not fascism.”
Reference to anonymous fellow governor
In Otter’s interview with the media, he mentioned, without being questioned on the topic, a fellow governor from another state who said medical marijuana is “disastrous.” He doesn’t mention the governor’s name, to which state he is referring, or why non-psychoactive CBD might be a disaster. He only says that anyone going to a doctor for any reason can obtain a medical marijuana card. As many medical cannabis patients will attest, this is simply not true.
Don’t be diverted by these statements made by Otter. He was never asked to legalize medical marijuana; he was merely asked to sign a bill giving a handful of residents of Idaho with intractable seizures access to CBD oil. CBD oil contains no THC and is not psychoactive, so no one can even get high from using it.
Cannabinoid oil for seizures
The details of the cannabinoid oil for seizure bill have been totally obscured by Otter and other law enforcement lobbyists in Idaho. One such is Shane Turman, the Idaho Chiefs of Police Association’s president. He says the bill gives carte blanche and will result in police not being able to enforce the prohibition of marijuana or other illegal drugs in the Idaho community.
Ouch! Mr. Turman, with all due respect, before you inform yourself properly, you should not be in a position to enforce anything, let alone voice an opinion publicly. As Harlan Ellison once said: “No, you are not entitled to your opinion. You are entitled to your informed opinion.”
CBD for seizure should never have been illegal in the first place. In fact, there’s even debate as to whether the laws on hemp products and hemp farming mean that CBD never was illegal!