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Passage of marijuana oil bill symbolizes hope for family of child with seizures

Posted June 26

— Zora Carlin’s parents cried and prayed when she had her first seizure at 6 months old.

Zora, now 5, has up to 60 seizures a day, which have slowed her development and could kill her.

On Thursday, tears and uncertainty turned to joy when Zora’s parents learned that Gov. Pat McCrory will sign a measure legalizing the use of CBD oil to treat seizures.

“It takes your heart out and stomps on it every time,” Zora’s father, Steve, said of the seizures.

“All you can do is sit there and tell her you love her,” said her mother, Dawn.

Zora has a rare, hard-to-treat and debilitating form of epilepsy known as Dravet Syndrome, which there is no cure. Her parents say they have tried 14 different medications, various diets, vitamins and supplements, but they’ve had little to no effect on their daughter’s condition.

"She would rip the skin off her legs and scratch herself until she is bleeding - bang her head," Dawn Carlin said of the medications.

CBD stands for cannabidiol, a compound found in marijuana. The oil is being increasingly used by doctors to treat intractable seizure disorders, especially in children, for which other therapies are ineffective and often toxic.

As of now, the oil is illegal in North Carolina – until McCrory signs House Bill 1220 into law.

“This law will help ease the suffering endured by children from whom no other treatments are effective against their seizures,” the governor said in a statement Thursday. “I want to congratulate the General Assembly for crafting a bill that not only improves the lives of many North Carolina children and their parents, but also provides common sense regulation and facilitates clinical research at our major research universities.”

The measure passed the House 112-1 and the Senate 45-0.

As the bill moved through the legislature, Steve Carlin attended committee meetings and spoke about his daughter’s condition.

"I'm on my knees here. I'm begging you," Carlin told the Senate Rules Committee on Wednesday.

His family was in the House chamber when the bill was approved by legislators. Zora clapped after it passed.

“It was a very surreal, like, wow, we are here,” Steve Carlin said of that moment.

On Thursday, Zora’s parents gave each other a high-five when they learned McCrory intends to sign the measure into law.

"I thank all of the people who have been behind us and I have nothing but love for them," Steve Carlin said.


This story is closed for comments. Comments on WRAL.com news stories are accepted and moderated between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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  • notexactly Jul 3, 11:58 a.m.

    Not everyone is as fortunate as you apparently are. Not everyone can afford the option of... View More

    — Posted by dcatz

    Really.... for your CHILD!

    I can push shopping carts at ANY Walmart or flip burgers in ANY... View More

    — Posted by mep

    If I had a child that needed this medicine - She would get it. Regardless of what the law says.... View More

    — Posted by icdumbpeople

    Especially, in NC which is the California of the east coast when it comes to cultivation.

    — Posted by Enough is Enough People

    Cultivation of what? I guess I don't understand your post

  • notexactly Jul 3, 11:15 a.m.

    To the comment about the revenue pot would bring in to the state. Perhaps your right, but last I checked both Colorado and cali are way deep in debt. So where did the money go? I know cali is one of the worse states in the union for money problems, the next is new York ( both heavily controlled by dems and has been for decades. It really don't matter about the revenue if the leaders spend it all on bogus things.

  • Genie v2.0 Jul 3, 10:58 a.m.

    SCUBAGIRL and STRAWBERRY beth - agree with you both totally and would love to chat. Have missed you since GOLO. We have a FB group. I am sure I can't list the address here but do a search

  • KnowsItAll Jun 27, 4:03 p.m.

    "Its a child for crying out loud."

    why should children be treated any differently than adults? are you saying it's ok if an adult is writing in pain? it's ok that an adult can't get the medicine they need? why should compassion be reserved only for children?

  • Strawberry Letter 23 Beth Wilson Jun 27, 2:58 p.m.


  • WralCensorsAreBias Jun 27, 12:55 p.m.

    Hopefully it symbolizes hope for legalization of it to cover all the short falls this pathetic state is going to expect us to cover.

    Ask CO and OR how many millions beyond their wildest projections they've taken in.

  • scubagirl2 Jun 27, 12:43 p.m.

    But SADLY all of those are not aging but are young with long lives ahead of them :(

    — Posted by scubagirl2

    Sadly? Maybe if brow beat and bully them enough they'll come around to your version of "open... View More

    — Posted by I-Defy

    not that you deserve a response but I don't blame anyone for my short comings and I have a huge... View More

    — Posted by scubagirl2

    A funny note, I always see that statement about common sense coming from those who have very... View More

    — Posted by Damien Thorned

    I certainly have more than quite a few on here but you believe what you want with your insulting post.

  • LetsBeFair Jun 27, 12:40 p.m.

    they need to just legalize pot altogether. maybe everyone will just calm down.

  • mep Jun 27, 12:34 p.m.


    You obviously have never tried to live off walmart of mcdonald wages. I assure you that... View More

    — Posted by WageSlave

    If it comes to my daughter having seizures each day... YES! And WAITING for the govt to change a law is pretty selfish. And I can work more than one job... and it doesnt have to pay minimum wage job.

    Its a child for crying out loud.
    You dont wait for the govt to act when it comes to your children. DUH!

  • Wordtothewise Jun 27, 12:18 p.m.

    In fact, Paul Armentano, deputy director of theNational Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, says CBD-only laws “will likely be unworkable and will most likely provide no tangible relief or protection for the patient community they are intended to serve. These laws provide the illusion of progress, but little if any actual progress for those patients in immediate need.”

    Armentano also worries that such efforts offer lawmakers a convenient excuse for not passing more comprehensive medical cannabis legislation—the kind that could have helped Cash Hyde, along with millions of others who want a safer, often more effective alternative to pharmaceuticals. Whatever happens next, however, we already know these parents won't be taking no for an answer. So the only question is: Where can increasingly desperate families find CBD in the meantime?