Atlanta - A state lawmaker is working to expand a little known Georgia law that could help children with seizure disorders receive medical marijuana.
“I’ve become a believer... this is my mission and I’m going to move this thing forward as much as I can,” says Rep. Allen Peake (R-Macon).
Up until last week, he had no idea that cannabis oil could help families like Blaine and Shannon Cloud of Smyrna whose 8-year-old daughter Alaina suffers from Dravet Syndrome which causes severe seizures and developmental delays.
The couple is trying to educate lawmakers on the benefits other children have experienced in states like Colorado where marijuana is legal.
“Some kids who were having hundreds of seizures a day or a week are down to very small numbers… just amazing improvements and there’s no question that it’s that,” Shannon Cloud tells WSB’s Sandra Parrish.
The Clouds say the oil, which is dispensed under the tongue with a medicine dropper, is no different from other medications available in pharmacies but without the harmful side effects of legal drugs.
“Our daughter is on five different medications to both control her seizures and control the side effects that are caused by the seizure medicines,” says Blaine Cloud.
Other metro Atlanta families, who have children with seizure disorders, have moved to Colorado to get the treatment.
Peake believes minor changes only need to be made to an existing state law passed in 1980 that allows very restricted use of medical marijuana for cancer and glaucoma patients.
“For us as a legislature, to not do something we can do to help them… I think it would be wrong for us to neglect it,” he says.
Peake believes at the very least lawmakers could form a study commission this year to look at the issue, but he is hopeful the law will be changed to help families like the Clouds and others considering leaving the state for treatment.