A new bill to legalize a form of medicinal marijuana in Georgia has been filed in the state Senate, and unlike its House counterpart would set up a four-year study rather than making the drug available immediately.
The lawmaker behind a bill to legalize medical marijuana for seizure patients said Wednesday the state should go one step further.
Earlier this year, Representative Allen Peake, R-Macon, championed a bill that would legalize cannabis oil for patients with seizure disorders. That effort ultimately failed in the final hours of the 2014 legislative session.
Peake's resolve, however, did not.
Representative Peake and other members of the new Medical Cannabis Study Committee met for the first time at the state Capitol Wednesday. The committee heard testimony from Paige Figi, a Colorado mother whose daughter Charlotte has become a symbol of the medical marijuana fight.
The medical marijuana bill failed in the final hours of this year’s legislative session, but children with seizure disorders may now have a glimmer of hope that lawmakers will revisit the issue of cannabis oil next year. Thursday afternoon, Governor Nathan Deal announced two pathways for medical marijuana in the Georgia. The governor said he spoke directly with the FDA, who expressed willingness to work with the state to reach its goal of researching for medical marijuana, although neither pathway would provide immediate relief for children suffering from epilepsy.
Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle said Wednesday that parents in Georgia should not have to fear prosecution if they use medical marijuana derivatives to treat their children who suffer from intractable seizures. He called on the state’s prosecutors not to charge families who possess the derivative.
A state House panel Wednesday unanimously approved a bill that would permit medical marijuana to be grown and used in Georgia for treatment of patients with cancer, glaucoma and seizure disorders under tightly controlled restrictions. The Health and Human Services Committee’s passage of the high-profile legislation paves the way for the full House to vote on the bill.
The sponsor of a medical marijuana bill said Monday after a three-hour legislative hearing that the proposal must get significant revisions before it can move forward in the Georgia General Assembly. But state Rep. Allen Peake’s efforts drew support from the vast majority of people who packed the hearing room.
Inside the Capitol Tuesday, the Senate gave first reading to a bill that would create a study committee on the issue of legalizing medical marijuana in Georgia. Outside of the capitol, dozens of people were pushing for even more reform, lined up on the steps to show support for legalizing marijuana use in Georgia. 36-year–old John Palmour of Canton says he suffers from Behcet’s disease, an autoimmune disorder and currently buys marijuana on the black market.