Cohen: Governor & AG Holder Should Work Together to Help Ease the Suffering of 3-Year-Old Memphian Chloe Grauer

October 20, 2014
Press Release

[MEMPHIS, TN] – In two letters, Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) urged Governor Bill Haslam and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to work together to ease the suffering of 3-year-old Memphian Chloe Grauer, who suffers from hundreds of seizures each day due to a rare neurological disease. Her parents have tried numerous available medical treatments, but Chloe is unable to obtain Cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive form of cannabis shown to alleviate seizures, due to excessive federal restrictions on the medicine’s importation into Tennessee. Last week, Congressman Cohen joined the Grauer family on News Channel 3’s Live at 9 to draw attention to their daughter’s urgent medical needs and the bureaucratic red-tape preventing her from accessing this potentially life-saving treatment. The interview can be viewed here.

“Chloe suffers from debilitating seizures, but is being denied CBD—which has the potential to alleviate her pain—because of overzealous federal drug laws,” said Congressman Cohen. “CBD does not contain enough THC to produce a high, and it has been shown to work for similar medical conditions. Governor Haslam and Attorney General Holder should work together and do all they can to ensure those suffering like Chloe have access to this potentially life-saving treatment.”

Despite Governor Haslam signing legislation this May allowing for clinical research into the low-THC form of cannabis known as CBD, federal restrictions have prevented the law from taking effect, and they also prohibit this important medication from being shipped across state lines. As Congressman Cohen outlined in his letters to both Governor Haslam (viewable here) and Attorney General Holder (viewable here), the Governor could request a waiver from the Attorney General to allow importation of CBD into the state until the situation is resolved. The Attorney General could then direct the Drug Enforcement Administration to issue such a waiver, which would finally allow for Chloe Grauer to use this critically important, non-psychoactive medication.

Colorado 5-year-old Charlotte Figi suffers from a condition similar to Chloe’s, but is nearly seizure-free thanks to CBD. The treatment has been so successful for her, in fact, that the medication is now known as Charlotte’s Web in her honor. Charlotte can access this life-saving treatment because she lives in Colorado, where marijuana is legal for medical and personal use.  Congressman Cohen is the lead Democratic sponsor of H.R.5226, the Charlotte’s Web Medical Hemp Act of 2014, which would lift the federal restrictions on importation across state lines by clarifying that Cannabidiol is not included under the federal definition of marijuana.