A bill to legalize medical marijuana for treatment of seizure disorders is among the bills “crossing over” on critical Day 30 at the State Capitol.
Families with children who suffer chronic seizures first brought the bill to lawmakers seven weeks ago. They were on hand to watch today’s vote in the House including little 4-year-old Haleigh Cox, for whom the bill is named.
“I don’t want this bill just to be about Haleigh; this bill is about a bunch of kids in Georgia that need access to this medication,” Janae Cox tells WSB’s Sandra Parrish.
The measure, by Rep. Allen Peake (R-Macon), would allow the state’s academic medical institutions to grow, process, and distribute cannabis oil that could be also be used to treat cancer and glaucoma through medical trials.
“We still have a monumental task ahead of us getting it through the Senate and getting to the point to where it’s ready to be signed by the Governor, but today is a huge victory for these families,” he says.
Rep. Sharon Cooper (R-Marietta) who chairs the House Health and Human Services Committee warned fellow lawmakers that without FDA approval of the drug, academic institutions like Emory, Georgia Regents, and Morehouse face losing federal funding.
The bill now goes to the Senate.
A bill to restrict abortion coverage through the State Employee Health Plan also made it through Crossover Day passing in the state Senate.
The measure by Sen. Judson Hill (R-Marietta) codifies administrative changes made to the plan by Gov. Nathan Deal last year.
“For these past few years, several thousand abortions have been performed in Georgia… paid for with taxpayers dollars,” he says. “Many people have been surprised and they’ve been frankly upset with their taxes being used this way.”
But Democrats complained it was just another “war” on women.
“I get sick and tired of getting sick and tired every year coming back with another chip away at women’s rights,” says Sen. Valencia Seay (D-Riverdale).
The bill passed along party lines and now goes to the House.
Other bills crossing over include one to allow a statue of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at the State Capitol as well as one to allow a monument of the Ten Commands on Capitol grounds.