MONTGOMERY, Ala (WHNT) - For months, families of children with chronic epilepsy have been fighting for Leni's Law, named for Leni Young. Her family had to move to Oregon because her cannabis oil treatment is illegal in Alabama.
Last week, the House and Senate overwhelmingly passed the bill, but now a new barrier stands in the way of it becoming law.
On Monday, Governor Robert Bentley revealed he's considering changes to Leni's Law, according to a Leni's Law supporter he spoke to in Haleysville. Bentley said he's considering requiring a doctor's prescription to use the oil. “No doctor in their right mind is going to recommend on paper to anyone of their patients anything that is illegal in the state," says Jody Mitchell, the mother of a child with chronic epilepsy and autism.
Leni's Law doesn't legalize cannabis oil, it only provides a criminal defense for caregivers who administer the treatment. Jody Mitchell not only takes care of her son, Robert, she cares for her mother-in-law who suffers from Alzheimer's Disease and no longer recognizes Jody's husband. “At one time, we did treat her with Cannabis oil and she knew who he was," she says.
The Mitchell's stopped treatment because they feared the repercussions. “It is important that we are allowed to speak to our doctors openly without fear of our children and loved ones being taken away from us," says Jody.
Time is a factor because if Governor Bentley proposes changes, with the legislative session ending Wednesday, Leni's Law would have to wait another year. “We need the Governor to sign this now, we need him to understand some of us cannot wait. Some of our children have thousands of seizures a day," says Mitchell. “Please do not put restrictions on this law, please sign it as is. The people of Alabama need this now, today, not another moment longer.”
According to Leni Young's mother, Amy, since the family moved to Oregon 10 months ago, Leni has only had 6 seizures. Before using CDB oil, she had hundreds of seizures a day.
Governor Bentley's office confirmed Tuesday afternoon that the Governor was doing a legal review of the bill but no decision has been made at this time.