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McCrory signs bill legalizing cannabis oil

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Gov. Pat McCrory signs a bill legalizing the use of CBD oil for treatment of severe forms of epilepsy. Gov. Pat McCrory signs a bill legalizing the use of CBD oil for treatment of severe forms of epilepsy.
RALEIGH, N.C. -

Gov. Pat McCrory on Thursday signed into law a bill legalizing the use of medicinal oil derived from a strain of medical marijuana to treat severe forms of epilepsy.

The North Carolina Senate had unanimously voted in favor of House Bill 1220, which legalizes and regulates hemp oil extract to be used in treating severe epilepsy that has not been responsive to three or more treatments.

The oil is derived from a strain of medical marijuana known as Charlotte's Web, which is low in tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, and high in cannibidiol, or CBD. THC is the psychoactive element in marijuana that gives a user a "high."

State Rep. Pat McElraft (R-Carteret County), who introduced the legislation, has insisted the "Hope 4 Haley and Friends" bill does not legalize medical marijuana, rather "this is only a medicine for these children so that they can develop motor skills."

McCrory signed the bill at the Executive Mansion Thursday surrounded by families of children who suffer from epileptic seizures. The law is named after Haley Ward, who attended the ceremony.

"When we go to a doctor's appointment and they ask, 'What do you want to try, mom?' And I'm like, 'There's nothing left.' But, now I found this. We want to try this," said Sherena Ward, Haley's mother.

Department of Health and Human Services has until Oct. 1 to adopt temporary rules to issue registration cards for the oil's use, and a database of registered caregivers, patients and recommending neurologists.

Families can now apply to be part of a study to see how the drug could help their children. If DHHS adopts rules prior to Oct. 1, the oil could be made available sooner.

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