Millbrook’s Cristi Cain came to the Alabama State House last year to speak for a medical marijuana legalization bill wearing a pin with photos of her son Hardy on it.

Cain was back in Montgomery with Hardy and her husband John on Thursday. They posed in a group with Governor Kay Ivey for a ceremonial signing of the Medical Marijuana Act at the Capitol.

Legislators passed law in May making Alabama the 37th state to legalize cannabis products for medical purposes.

Hardy Cain, 10, has a rare chromosomal disease called tetrasomy 18P. It causes a wide variety of problems including epilepsy. Cain said the family have tried everything to help Hardy since he was diagnosed at the age of 3, including strong prescription drugs, some of which were addicting. These left Hardy lethargic but brought no relief, she said.

Cain said CBD oil helped Hardy. Legislators passed a law called Leni’s Law in 2016 that allows the use of CBD oil. Cain said she believes there is a chance for Hardy to get more relief from another cannabis product that is allowed under the new law.

“He’s still having seizures every day,” said Cain. “They are not as intense as they used to be. They are not as long as they were. But he’s still having seizures. Our ultimate goal is therefore to reduce this as much as possible and give him the quality of life he deserves. “

Cain said her research makes her optimistic about the potential benefits of THCA, another substance in cannabis. “

“If we can do that, I think he can get even closer to seizure-free,” said Cain.

“We want to give him every chance we would give our other children to be successful in life,” said Cain. “Just because he has disabilities and epilepsy and whatever doesn’t mean he doesn’t deserve to be able to live a happy and healthy life.”

Hardy was in a wheelchair on Thursday as he was recovering from a broken leg. His mother said he was a happy child despite his health problems stemming from a condition diagnosed in only a few hundred people worldwide.

“He’s very happy,” said Cain. And that’s why it’s important that we keep fighting for him. “

Elmore County’s Cristy Cain carries a button supporting Alabama’s medical cannabis bill and another button that she said shows how her son Hardy has improved after using CBD oil to treat his seizures . (Mike Cason/mcason@al.com)

The new law empowers a domestic system to regulate medical cannabis from growing the plants to selling products in licensed pharmacies in up to 12 locations across the state.

Doctors may recommend medical marijuana products for chronic pain, nausea, and weight loss from cancer and HIV / AIDS, depression, Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, autism, panic disorder, PTSD, sickle cell anemia, spasticity due to certain diseases, or other spinal cord injuries, Tourette’s syndrome, and incurable diseases.

Bill sponsors, Senator Tim Melson, R-Florence, and Rep. Mike Ball, R-Madison, attended the signing ceremony today.

Also in attendance was Laura Hall, D-Huntsville, MP, who funded a medical marijuana bill more than a decade ago after her son died from AIDS. The new law is named “Darren Wesley ‘Ato’ Hall Compassion Act” in recognition of it.

Also at today’s event was Dustin Chandler, who led the passage of Carly’s law in 2014. This bill authorized a UAB study into the use of cannabidiol to treat severe seizure disorders. It was named after Chandler’s daughter.

“The most important thing is to give hope to the people that there are other alternatives to the suffering people in Alabama,” said Chandler. “I think that’s the most important thing. The reason we worked so hard is because we knew there were people who could possibly get help. And I hope that just gives them some hope. There are many people who are desperate for new treatments. And if your doctor wants to help you with that, it gives you hope. So it is really for the people who are suffering. “

Chandler helped develop the legislation. He said it was based on a law in Tennessee. The Tennessee legislature who sponsored that legislation, Senator Janice Bowling, also attended the event Thursday. The law is not yet passed in Tennessee.

Melson said he believed medicinal cannabis products could be available in about a year.

The law establishes the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission to regulate the new industries and uses of the products. The commission will consist of 14 members appointed by the governor, lieutenant governor, legislative leaders and others. The appointments require confirmation by the Senate.

The law stipulates that the first members must be appointed by July 1st.