Governor Bentley visits Carly’s Law families

Dustin Chandler holds his daughter, Carly, while speaking with Governor Robert Bentley at Pelham City Hall on July 22. (Reporter Photo / Jon Goering)

Dustin Chandler holds his daughter, Carly, while speaking with Governor Robert Bentley at Pelham City Hall on July 22. (Reporter Photo / Jon Goering)

By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer

PELHAM—Governor Robert Bentley visited Pelham City Hall on July 22 to meet with several of the families who lobbied for the passage of Carly’s Law.

Along with Bentley were Alabama state legislators Sen. Paul Sanford, Rep. Mike Ball and Rep. Allen Farley, all of who were instrumental in passage of Carly’s Law, Bentley said.

Carly’s Law passed unanimously through both houses of the Alabama Legislature in late March, and Bentley signed the bill into law on April 1.

The law calls for the clinical study of cannabidiol oil, a derivative of the cannabis plant, for the treatment of severe seizure disorders among those for whom other treatments have failed. The law also allots $1 million for research at UAB.

Treatment of patients in an open clinical study of CBD oil is on schedule to begin this fall at UAB, Pelham Police Officer Dustin Chandler confirmed.

Chandler was a driving force behind Carly’s Law. His three-year-old daughter, Carly, suffers from the rare seizure disorder CDKL5, and could be helped by CBD oil.

“What they did in the State (Legislature) was nothing short of a miracle, really,” Chandler said.

Bentley applauded the hard work done by the families and the legislators to get Carly’s Law passed.

“The best way to go about it is… to put these children in a legitimate study. I felt like this would be the best approach,” Bentley said. “Y’all did a great job, all of you, and I want to thank you for that.”

Bentley added Carly’s Law has become a model for other states.

“Since this law has passed, I’ve had governors from all over the country call me,” Bentley said. “We were the trendsetters in Alabama to do things the correct way.”

State lawmakers Sanford, Ball and Farley reflected on their experiences working to pass Carly’s Law.

“When I first heard about CBD oil and the potential it had to help your children and many other families, I was compelled to act upon it,” Sanford said. “It is the best effort of anything I have been part of… in Montgomery.”

Ball said working on Carly’s Law was a spiritual experience for him, adding “it was just a special thing to behold.”

“Down in the Legislature at 2 a.m. when I started to introduce Carly’s Law… everyone stood up and started chanting ‘vote, vote, vote,’” Farley reflected. “This was something that was a God thing.”

The gathering at City Hall held special significance to Chandler, not only because of the families there, but also because of the location.

“This was the start,” Chandler said, recalling discussing the idea for Carly’s Law with a fellow police officer in the locker room of the Pelham Police Department. “Pelham is just a special place to me… we wanted to do it where it all began.”