Georgia House passes medical marijuana bill

The State House overwhelmingly passes a bill to provide immunity to those who bring cannabis oil into Georgia from other states where it’s legal to treat cancer, seizure disorders, MS, ALS, Crohn’s Disease, Mitochondrial Disease, Sickle Cell Anemia, Fibromyalgia, and Parkinson’s.

Bill sponsor Rep. Allen Peake (R-Macon) whittled that number down from 17 medical conditions in his original bill after opposition from law enforcement and district attorneys in the state.

“It was clear that we needed to make sure we defined it to a shorter list, which I think is prudent for the first step,” he tells WSB’s Sandra Parrish.

The bill requires the patient to get a recommendation from their doctor as well as register with the state Dept. of Public Health before they can obtain the oil which could be no more than 20 ounces. Any amount over that would be subject to a felony.

Families whose children would benefit from the marijuana extract are happy with the bill’s passage in the House but worry what will happen to it in the Senate.

Shannon Cloud, whose 9-year-old daughter Alaina would benefit from it, is afraid it will be stripped once it crosses the hall.

“It’s a good law that will help a lot of people in Georgia and it would be really disappointing if the Senate decides to cut that back and remove people from the bill, because we’re talking about lives here,” she says.

Peake says he’s heard Senators may vote to only include children with seizure disorders and reduce the amount of TCH, the component of marijuana that gives the “high” effect, from 5 percent to 3 percent.

“That would be a real shame if we’ve done all this work to help close to… half a million citizens that could potentially benefit and if the Senate were to take it all away,” he says.

Gov. Nathan Deal has been a supporter of the legislation but expressed his concern with the long list of medical conditions specified in the original bill.

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