Keith Larson: Hard to say thank you for saving this child

6-year-old Bethany on July 7, after CBD oil treatment.
6-year-old Bethany on July 7, after CBD oil treatment. COURTESY OF THE CHILDERS FAMILY

I owe our governor a positive column on CBD oil. Here it is:

“Pat McCrory signed a bill last week that allows certain seriously ill children in North Carolina to be given CBD oil. Many families are relieved. The end.”

That’s all the positivity I can muster. It should probably be left at that because the families who’ll benefit from the new law are simply relieved. They’re happy help may finally be coming for the child they’ve seen attacked by life-threatening seizures. They’re grateful to GuvCo, and don’t want any trouble.

What a travesty.

CBD oil is an extract of a strain of marijuana. Last year the legislature passed a bill, signed by McCrory in a photo-op surrounded by sick children and smiling parents, that legalized CBD oil. Except, it didn’t.

It allowed four of our big university hospitals to set up CBD pilot studies, if they wanted. It let the big drug companies get in on the trials with a synthetic version, if they wanted. What the bill didn’t do was let parents actually give CBD oil to their sick kids, if they wanted.

And they did want to give it to their kids, but couldn’t. This surfaced publicly in February when WBTV’s Molly Grantham reported on “families who say they feel tricked, and the obstacles doctors say they face.” Other stories followed, along with talk on the radio, a couple of columns here, and a lot of social media swirl.

The heat got hot enough McCrory wanted out of the CBD kitchen. A key legislator told a seizure-suffering child’s mom the governor said he was “getting killed in Charlotte” and wanted the bill fixed. It was, and became law when McCrory signed it quietly last Thursday. Quietly, because how can you high-five yourself over a bill that exists only because you were pressured to fix the one you already did your touchdown dance over?

So, Charlotte mom Abby Childers is an outlaw no longer. Her 6-year-old daughter Bethany suffers from intractable epilepsy and was having up to 100 seizures a day. Abby went to Colorado, was trained on and got CBD, and administered it to Bethany – illegally. Eight weeks later, Bethany was off the medical equipment, out of bed, and singing “The wheels on the bus go round and round” in my studio.

“Absolutely the CBD,” Abby told me.

Maybe I should have written a shiny, happy column. “How wonderful, the new CBD law passed. Bless their hearts.”

I couldn’t.

Seeing parents have to beg politicians for permission to possibly save their child’s life using the extract of a plant given by the same God in whom the politicians tell us We Trust, makes me sick.

Larson is the mid-morning host for WBT-AM (1110).