Tracy Vearrier, 37, of Bismarck, N.D., holds the hand of his 12-year-old daughter, Paige, as he speaks to reporters Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015, at the state Capitol about his support for a bill that would legalize medicinal marijuana in North Dakota, which he hopes will alleviate the frequent seizures Paige experiences.
“We do not ask for a medication to make our kids walk, talk, call me Daddy,” he told state lawmakers Wednesday as Paige, who was born with her intestines outside of her body and is unable to walk or talk, sat half-asleep in the wheelchair beside him. “We just ask for her to be content.”
Vearrier and other parents of children with debilitating and terminal medical conditions shared emotional testimony Wednesday in support of legislation that would make North Dakota the 24th state to legalize medical marijuana.
“We do not want to make our kids high,” Vearrier, a 37-year-old physician assistant, told the House Human Services Committee. “We want to make their quality of life better.”
But North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem said House Bill 1430 raises numerous concerns about regulation and public safety and is “far from ready for enactment.”
“The bill and its amendments create a new and really dangerous method to deliver what purports to be a prescription medication,” he said.
The bill would allow patients and caregivers to possess a certain amount of cannabis or products such as cannabis oils, beverages, vapors and pills, for medical use.
Rep. Pamela Anderson, D-Fargo, who introduced the bill, offered amendments Wednesday that would reduce the cannabis possession limit from 2½ ounces to 2 ounces, clarify that smoking pot is a non-medical use and delay the law’s effective date to June 30, 2016.