March 29, 2014 10:33:17 PM
JACKSON -- Mississippi lawmakers are sending Gov. Phil Bryant a bill that would legalize a marijuana oil to be used as medicine under tightly controlled circumstances.
"The governor will review it closely when it reaches his desk," Bryant spokeswoman Nicole Webb said Friday after the bill won final approval in the House and Senate.
Sen. Josh Harkins, R-Flowood, said a family in his district has an almost 2-year-old daughter with Dravet syndrome, a form of pediatric epilepsy, and the oil can help reduce the number of seizures.
Harkins said he has been told by academic experts and officials at the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics that the oil does not produce a high.
It would be available only by prescription and dispensed through a University of Mississippi Medical Center pharmacy. The medical center would obtain its supply from the University of Mississippi's National Center for Natural Products Research in Oxford. That center grows marijuana for medical research sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
The House on Friday also removed a procedural block that Rep. Andy Gipson, R-Braxton, had put on the bill after it had passed that chamber Thursday.
Gipson on Friday tried unsuccessfully to persuade the House to reconsider the bill and kill it, saying he believes legalizing the marijuana oil could be dangerous. He said too little is known about the potential side effects for children using the oil as medicine.
"As the father of four, I would not do anything to hurt a child," Gipson said.
If Bryant signs the bill, it would become law July 1.
Online: House Bill 1231: http://bit.ly/1f0nwoX