BATON ROUGE- Nine-year old Connor Corkern's epilepsy is so severe he once had a seizure that lasted 36 hours. To control his condition his mother Katie was forced to put him on a number of prescription medications. She said the medications break her heart because the side-effects are almost as bad as his epilepsy.
"Some of the medications cause liver damage, they weaken his bone marrow. There was one he took two years ago which side-effect was blindness," said Corkern.
The Amite mother of three wants a different option and believes cannabis oil could replace Connor's dangerous medication. So she's leading the charge to expand Louisiana's medical marijuana law to include conditions like the one her son has.
Last year state lawmakers legalized a form of medical marijuana known as cannabis oil. The drug has very low levels of THC, the component of marijuana that gets people high.
In Connor's case the oil would be administered through his feeding tube. Studies have shown the oil could help regulate his elliptic seizures.
But last year's law only allows the medicine to be prescribed for a handful of conditions. Epilepsy is not one of them.
This year Senator Fred Mills (R-New Iberia) is pushing to expand the law so medical conditions like epilepsy will be included. Mills is scheduled to present his bill Wednesday at the Capitol, Corkern intends to testify as well.
Currently state lawmakers are still working out the regulations for growing and processing marijuana in Louisiana. It could be two years before patients can start taking the oil.