Mom wants Illinois to change medical marijuana laws

- Latest: 5:03 pm, 3/25/14, Tuesday
ILLINOIS -- A Coles County mother, fighting to change the state's medical marijuana law, could be closer to her wish. Kimberly Locke's daughter has epilepsy and could benefit from medical marijuana.

Tuesday, a Senate committee approved a bill adding kids and adults suffering from seizures to the list of those able to get it. Some parents see it as a life-saving measure, including Neomi Jenne.

She traveled from Peoria to talk to lawmakers about her 20-month old son who's had seizures since birth. Jenne says if the vote isn't in her son's favor, she would have to move her family to Colorado where the drug is legal.

The bill now heads to the Senate floor for a full vote.
Latest: 11:40 pm, 3/21/14, Friday
MATTOON -- Should children suffering from seizures be allowed to have medical marijuana? Illinois' lawmakers at first said, "no," but there has been a change of heart.

Kimberly Locke is fighting to get medical marijuana for her daughter, Alyssa. She has hundreds of seizures. The drug has been shown to help other children in Colorado.

Now, a Senate bill up for a hearing next week has been amended to include children with a certain kind of epilepsy. Locke hopes this is just the first step toward helping Alyssa.

The bill has to pass the public health hearing next week, then it goes back to the Senate for a vote. Locke says she may still have to go to Colorado to get Alyssa treatment if lawmakers take too long.
Update: 4:21 pm, 3/21/14, Friday
ILLINOIS -- A Mattoon mother's persistence could pay off. Kimberly Locke's daughter has epilepsy. Medical marijuana could decrease the number of seizures she has, but children and people with the disorder are prohibited form using it.

Locke's been lobbying to get epilepsy added to the list. A Senate committee is holding a hearing Tuesday to discuss amending the bill to include it.
Original: 10:29 pm, 3/10/14, Monday
MATTOON -- Medical marijuana is legal in Illinois but children can't take it; neither can people with epilepsy. One mother says medical marijuana can change her daughter's life and she's willing to move out of state to get it. WCIA-3's Anthony Antoine has the story.

Illinois allows medical marijuana to treat 40 different medical conditions. Kimberly Locke is fighting to add one more. She's the person 6-year old Alyssa Birch depends on the most, her mother.

"Something’s wrong and they don't know what's wrong and none of the medicines are working. Every day I watch her slip away a little bit more because the seizures take their toll."

Her little girl has epilepsy and she can have 500 seizures a day.

Locke says," The last three medicines they had her on put her in ICU."

She took her daughter to St. Louis for brain surgery, but was disappointed by what doctors had to say.

"They would have to remove too much of her brain that she wouldn’t survive it."

Another roadblock has Locke turning to a different drug, medical marijuana. Oil derived from the plant was used help a girl with epilepsy in Colorado. The extract has a very low dose of THC, the chemical in marijuana that gives people a high.

"It's frustrating to know that there’s something that could help her but we're not allowed to have that," says Locke.

Now desperate parents are moving to the state to get treatment for their children. Locke could be one of them.

"I don't feel like we have time to wait for Illinois to get their act together. I want to go to Colorado because they have what we need. They have a chance."

A bill on the Senate floor could add epilepsy to the list of approved medical conditions for medical marijuana. The family is also looking to raise money to get Alyssa to Colorado.

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