Governor Robert Bentley visited Pelham on Tuesday to meet with the families who will benefit from the passage of Carly's Law.
The law will allow Alabama families to enroll in a UAB study on cannabidoil, or CBD. The marijuana-derived oil is non-hallucinogenic and supporters say it can help treat seizures. The law is named for Carly Chandler, whose family spearheaded the efforts to pass it.
One of the children we met on Tuesday was two-year-old Gabriel Pass, who is on five different medications to combat seizures and nausea. His diagnosis falls under the umbrella of Cerebral Palsy.
Soon, he and dozens of other children who suffer from seizures will undergo a UAB study using CBD to hopefully minimize if not eliminate seizures.
Tuesday, Gabriel's mom, Robin Pass, and other families with similar cases had the chance to thank Governor Robert Bentley for signing Carly's Law.
"I had my doubts when we started talking about this medicine if [Governor Bentley] was going to sign it even if everybody else was going to sign it," said Pass. "He came through."
As Governor Bentley met the children his signature will soon hopefully help, parents expressed their stories and gratitude. Carrie Akins is one of them.
Her daughter, eight-year-old Avery Akins, suffers from Rhett Syndrome and started to regress around 15-months-old.
"Lost all use of her hands. All words that she had. She can't walk. She's fed through a feeding tube and has intractable epilepsy," said Akins.
Avery Akins suffers from four to six noticeable seizures a day.
Governor Bentley said he signed the bill to give these families another alternative when it comes to helping ease their children's pain.
"It will give these parents and it will give the parent hope that maybe we can find something that will help with this condition," said Governor Bentley.
As a physician himself Gov. Bentley said he knows of numerous medications that are plant based and legal.
He said the only way he would support the use of CBD oil was through a study at one of the state's universities.
"I think if it truly works we'll probably legalize that portion of it so that it can be given to children or adults," said Gov. Bentley.
Dustin Chandler, Carly's father, started pushing for the use of CBD about a year ago.
"Today was just a culmination of really just getting the governor to come and see these families," said Chandler.
Chandler knew the fight would be a hard one as Alabama voters and lawmakers have been vocal about not legalizing marijuana.
"It was going to be a struggle but when you see all these kids faces and who you're really fighting for it made every drop of sweat and every tear shed all worth it," said Chandler.
At this time the UAB study of CBD is open ended, meaning there is no limit to the number of patients who can sign up.
The study will be run through UAB's Epilepsy Center Clinic. Testing is slated to begin Fall 2014.
Copyright 2014 WBRC. All rights reserved.
1720 Valley View Drive