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Hemp oil registration cards bring hope for families

Published: Tuesday, July 8 2014 6:35 p.m. MDT

May's 12-year-old son, Stockton, has epilepsy. Since his seizures began when he was 6 months old, Stockton has undergone 25 conventional treatments. Some medications have had "heavy-duty" side effects on Stockton, including bone deterioration and organ failure, May said.

May remains hopeful that hemp treatment will prove to be a safer and more effective alternative.

"This is something new and different, so we're excited to give it a shot," she said. "It's not going to be a miracle for everyone, but it's going to be for some."

Despite widespread excitement for the arrival of hemp cards, many parents are waiting to apply until they know their out-of-state vendors will be able to send them the product. By midafternoon Tuesday, only two cards had been sought and issued by the health department.

"A lot of the families that we've talked to, the vendors that they're working with are waiting for the crop to be harvested, which won't happen for a few weeks," Houston said.

Transporting hemp extract across state lines remains illegal under federal law. Having a hemp card does not protect Utahns from federal investigation, but it does exempt them from being prosecuted under state law, according to Houston.

Most Utah caregivers will have the extract shipped to them from vendors, May said.

Until the shipments begin, Maughan's son Glenn continues to endure a "full gambit" of seizures, Maughan said. Most are sudden muscle jerks. Some escalate into laughing fits. Others lead to periods of blank staring. Glenn's medical examinations indicate abnormal electrical discharges in his brain every 90 seconds.

Such episodes have caused a broken nose for Maughan three times.

It remains uncertain whether his condition will improve with hemp treatment. But the mere possibility of seeing her son laugh and play again is all the assurance Maughan needs to move forward.

"I'm not looking for him to hang glide or race sports cars. Heck if he wasn't even potty trained, that's OK with me," she said. "As long as he can get back to enjoying what he used to enjoy when he was 3, that's really everything for me."

Email: mjacobsen@deseretnews.com

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