Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill recently stirred confusion and debate regarding the legality of concentrated hemp extract, commonly referred to as Cannabis Oil or CBD oil. Most forms of CBD oil do not contain any THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the chemical in marijuana responsible for psychoactive effects. It is unclear whether our AG and our Governor support the use of non THC containing CBD oil. Recent research supports the use of CBD oil as a nutritional supplement for those who suffer with pain, anxiety, autism, cancer, and most prominently, seizure disorders like epilepsy. Local news media report conflicting opinions between Governor Eric Holcomb and Attorney General Curtis Hill, leaving both retailers and consumers unsure of whether their favorite CBD oil product will continue to be available. Technically, CBD oil is legal in all 50 states as long as it’s derived from industrialized hemp and contains less than .3 percent THC. This will be a priority topic for the upcoming 2018 legislative session.
For Hoosiers using CBD oil regularly to control epilepsy, the current legal ambiguity is cause for serious concern.
Parents like Jade and Lelah Jerger.
On September 20, 2017 Indiana Department of Child Services (DCS) opened a file on Jade and Lelah Jerger, parents of Jaehla Jerger, 20 months, with epilepsy. Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis reported the Jergers to DCS, accusing them of medical neglect for using Charlotte’s Web CBD oil containing 2mg of THC to assist with the toddler’s myoclonic seizures, when the prescribed pharmaceutical drug Keppra failed. Despite experiencing alarming side effects from the medication, DCS demanded weekly monitoring to prove the child was still using the prescription drug and also directed the family to specific medical centers and physicians, removing all medical decision making power from Jade and Lelah Jerger. Failure to comply would result in the toddler’s removal from her parents’ care.
On September 25, 2017 Indiana For Medical Freedom issued an official statement condemning DCS for their overreach and demanded the case be closed. Indiana For Medical Freedom provided the Keppra package insert to Indiana State legislators, by request, along with three studies showing the medication was contraindicated for Jaelah’s care.
On October 2, 2017 DCS closed the Jergers’ case due to “refuted evidence.”
The Jergers’ story made national news, sparking outrage among citizens who stand for parental rights and medical freedom. Lelah Jerger is forced to dispense her CBD oil across state lines or switch to a non THC CBD oil, taking a risk that it might not be as effective on her toddler’s seizures.
As a supporter of Indiana for Medical Freedom, we implore you to contact your legislators and refute the vilification of CBD oil. Removing it from our already limited natural medical treatments strips our ability to govern our own bodies.
We also encourage our readership to research scientific studies and critically evaluate the financial interests of those who govern us. On October 10, 2017 Indiana University and Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb announced that Indiana University donated $50 Million to the State of Indiana to combat Indiana’s opiate crisis. What’s IU’s motivation for the generous donation? A simple internet search reveals that IU’s Department of Biomolecular Science has conducted studies using both synthetic CBD and natural CBD on mice. This research could imply a vested interested in destroying CBD oil in favor of their own synthetic, and more profitable and patentable, product. This places the pharmaceutical industry in the position of both opiate addiction cause AND solution; profiting on both ends of the opioid crisis. It’s widely known that the entire IU Health network, including Riley Children’s Hospital and IU School of Medicine, opposes medical marijuana, which could be a result of placing its financial interests above patient care. Currently, CBD oil is the only non-opioid treatment available for addicts. Governor Holcomb and State Senator Jim Merritt (Narcan Proponent) aren’t interested in litigation against the manufacturers of opiates like New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas and Georgia. Drug manufacturers are not held responsible for their role in opioid addiction. The drugs were originally developed to assist in end of life, last resort pain management when addiction is not an issue. Routine surgeries, chronic pain and other common ailments aren’t reason enough to prescribe addictive pain medications, but drug companies fail to educate doctors on the appropriate distribution. The five states listed above have taken legal action against the pharmaceutical manufacturers in order to help cover the costs of dealing with the opiate crisis. The question remains why Governor Holcomb did not pursue a similar solution for Indiana and instead chose to accept the $50 million from Indiana University. An examination into his financial ties to Pharma might be needed.
According to the Journal of the American Medical Association (article below), states with legalized medical marijuana are reporting a significant reduction in opiate overdoses. Unfortunately, it appears that the pharmaceutical lobby’s financial power (which doubles that of the mighty Oil Industry) easily overpowers taxpayer preferences.
A strong citizenry is an educated citizenry. IFMF encourages you to arm yourself with information and learn to connect the dots. With 1 in 13 children suffering from chronic health issues and 120 million Americans on prescription drugs, it’s time to demand better health care, especially the freedom to choose your preferred method of medical treatment. Parents of sick children won’t tolerate the government standing between them and healing their children.
For additional reading:
Get involved. Contact your state representatives before the next General Assembly. For inspiration, see the letter written by Lelah Jerger below.
“Governor Eric Holcomb,
Something has to be done on an emergency session. Our current CBD law is a direct violation of our rights. We had to fight to keep our daughter in our home after being reported for using Charlotte’s Web hemp extract to treat our daughters epilepsy. You say that CPS acted appropriately but you have no idea the threats that were used if we did not comply with them. Would you want your child’s blood drawn WEEKLY to prove a drug was in her system? Would you want someone to force you to send your child to a doctor of THEIR choice? Would you want to keep your child on a medication that caused horrible side effects if a safer alternative that WORKS is available?
This is what YOUR agency came into our home with. The fear that we, not only my husband, Jaelah, and I had to endure, but also our three other children was uncalled for. We had to hold our 10 year old daughter while she cried because she feared they would take her and her brother and sisters. All because we decided to forego traditional medications.
It should be our right as parents to choose medical treatment and which doctors we take our children to. Not anyone else’s.
The Attorney General’s statement has made the fear real again. We are working on getting Jaelah on the registry because her doctor DOES agree with the treatment, but since we were threatened with removal of our daughter if we took her anywhere else but Norton’s in Kentucky, we do not have an Indiana-licensed physician yet. This is what YOUR agency did.
And what happens in the mean time? Do we stop treatment on Jaelah until she is officially on the registry? Do we let her continue to have seizures because legally we can’t give her her treatment? The treatment her doctor agrees with. What would you do if this was your child????
The current law has forced us to divide our family over the Thanksgiving holiday because I had to go somewhere that I could legally give Jaelah her treatment. While you were comfortable in your home surrounded by your family, mine was torn apart.
This is America, the land of the free. However, we aren’t free. We aren’t free to make any decisions on our own without fear of government involvement. This is what our state has become. It does NOT work.
What are you going to do about it?”
Indiana For Medical Freedom stands with The Jergers and ALL families negatively affected by this issue and we respectfully request that you immediately address this issue in a manner that benefits citizens; not the pharmaceutical lobby, not Indiana University, not IU School of Medicine, and not Riley Hospital.