Severe epilepsy and other neurological disorders, marked by sudden recurrent episodes of sensory disturbance, loss of consciousness, or convulsions, associated with abnormal electrical activity in the brain, can be devastating on children and their families.
I know. On Mother’s Day 2015, we lost our beautiful daughter Ava after a grueling battle with epilepsy. For the three years Ava was with us; we did everything in our power to help her. She was on eight medications a day while going through multiple therapies. We traveled to hospitals up and down the East Coast for answers and treatment.
It wasn’t until her first dose of Charlotte’s Web that we saw a glimmer of hope. Ava became seizure free and was down to two medications a day, one being Charlotte’s Web — a low-THC cannabis extract oil produced from marijuana plants. Unfortunately, by that point, the devastating effects of the thousands of seizures suffered in her short life were too great to overcome.
Even though the Florida Legislature passed a Charlotte’s Web bill in 2014 establishing the framework for cultivating low-THC cannabis and producing CBD oil, the seven companies licensed to cultivate marijuana and produce CDB oil have been slow to get off the ground. In fact, Ava’s father had to travel to Colorado last year to purchase a six-month supply of Charlotte’s Web.
Consequently, there is limited accessibility and high prices for CBD oil here in Florida. This is unacceptable, and I’m committed to supporting those families with children like Ava who could greatly benefit from CDB oil.
That’s why I’ll be attending the Florida Department of Health’s Feb. 8 public hearing in Tampa on rules governing medical marijuana to add my voice. Florida needs to deliver on its promise to make Charlotte’s Web available in the state.