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It’s easy to forget in our weed-legal west coast(Best Coast!), that in states like Kansas where pot is demonized and punishable by archaic, life-ruinous prison terms, folks are struggling to reach the privilege we enjoy. Such as Claire Hartley, a 17-year old Topeka girl with multiple conditions like cerebral palsy and epilepsy, both known to see enormous relief from cannabis oil.

Claire died last December, before her parents got a chance to try cannabis-derived medicine for their daughter.

In March, Scott and Gwen Hartley stood before Kansas lawmakers and begged them to make it easier for people with severe medical conditions to use marijuana-derived oil containing THC, the chemical that produces a high.

“I guess the most disappointing thing for me is that we weren’t able to try the low THC CBD oil with her,” Scott Hartley told lawmakers. “I know it would have helped her with some of the struggles in her life and it would help so many other kids, too.”

The House voted 89-35 that same month to pass a Kansas bill that provides protections in court for parents like the Hartleys, who want to give CBD oil to their children. The oil can contain no more than 5%THC.

The bill’s language gives those same protections to adults with debilitating conditions who want to use CBD oil with THC

The Kansas bill says that individuals charged with possessing CBD oil with THC could defend themselves in court by showing they have a severe medical condition and that they’re using the CBD oil for their condition.

The House approved the bill amid growing discussion of medical marijuana among Kansas lawmakers. Some lawmakers contend the proposal represents a move toward eventual legalization.

The bill is named for Claire and the Hartleys’ 12-year-old daughter, Lola, who has conditions similar to Claire. The legislation must still pass the Senate before going to Gov. Laura Kelly for action.

Supporters of CBD oil with THC say it can help reduce seizures and serve as a more natural pain reliever.

But the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, law enforcement associations and the Kansas Medical Society have lined up in opposition. They say the bill would be difficult to enforce and that CBD oil with THC lacks federal approval for medical use.

The bill also would prohibit the Department for Children and Families from attempting to remove a child from their home solely because of the parent or child’s use of CBD oil.

The bill also allows individuals charged with possessing CBD oil with THC to show they or their children have a debilitating disease as an affirmative defense in court. The individual would also need to show a letter from a physician that indicates the person’s diagnosis.