GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The state of Michigan is making changes for people who are used to buying CBD oil, a cannabis — or marijuana — derivative that does not get users high but is used by people to treat a variety of ailments.
The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs has decided that people who buy or sell the oil must conform to the state's medical marijuana laws, a new policy causing concern and confusion.
CBD oil has been credited with treating a variety of problems from PTSD to joint aches and it has been getting growing acceptance for treating seizures in child when nothing else works.
Until just a few days ago, it could be purchased by anyone without having a medical marijuana card.
Amanda Brunzell is 34-year-old Navy veteran who uses CBD oil for PTSD, fibromyalgia and endometriosis.
"I have to be able to function to do my job, so I use CBD oil during the day," said Brunzell. "It's not (psychoactive) and it still give me the same benefits as actual THC."
She also wants to avoid the potential side effects of other painkillers that can be addictive.
"There's a lot of veterans who won't get their card because the state states that if you're a medicinal marijuana patient, you can't keep your weapons," Brunzell said. "It’s only hurting veterans."
David Overholt is a medical marijuana caretaker and advocate who is heading up a group working to bring dispensaries to Grand Rapids.
“You didn’t need a marijuana card, you didn’t have to jeopardize the loss of your income from your employer finding out, you didn’t have to lose your rights to bear a firearm," Overholt said. “If you have to now go and get a marijuana card just to get an oil that has no high in it, just healing abilities, I’m afraid that a lot or people will go back to narcotics rather than give up that right — to lose their gun.”
Michigan is alone in this requirement, as other states still sell CBD oil without a marijuana card.
“Now, a lot of the people that were wholesaling here are already packing their bags and moving out of state. Is that really what Michigan needs, more companies leaving?” Overholt said. “They are about to take a whole generation that are just becoming aware and alive of what some other alternative medicines are to narcotics and pills and just turn them into very angry people and I think the wrath will be shown in future elections to come.”
Overholt had two dogs, one with cancer and another with life-threatening seizures — he treated both with CBD oil.
“What I did was I went out some of this CBD oil from one of the local stores specially made for pets and there was no more high to her and we haven’t had a seizure since," he said.
The dog with cancer was supposed to have less than a month to live, that was six months ago.
"We’re kind of struggling now because now we’re not allowed to… I don’t know if I can be a caregiver for my dog," he said.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is poised to approve Epidiolex, a marijuana derivative that treats childhood epilepsy just like advocates claim the oil does.
“So, now that you have one product that you give a child once a day or twice a day that controls 99 percent of their seizures," Overholt said. “There’s nobody out there, I don’t care, who hates marijuana the most sees that transformation in that child and that family that has to take of that child, their heart grows like the Grinch.”
The new regulation can — and likely will — be challenged before an administrative law judge by a patient or seller. However, it could become a moot issue if a ballot proposal legalizing marijuana is passed in November.
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