For the first time, a form of medical marijuana is legal in Georgia. Thursday, Governor Nathan Deal signed a bill that decriminalizes the possession of cannabis oil for the treatment of eight medical conditions--from sickle cell disease to cancer. But getting the oil could be a challenge for those who need it.
A bill to legalize cannabis oil to treat seizure disorders and seven other debilitating health problems passed a key committee in the Georgia House on Monday but faces an uphill battle in the state Senate, even in its latest, watered-down version.
Although Colorado has become a popular destination for families seeking medical marijuana to treat children’s seizures, that state’s public health chief has some strong words of caution for parents. He said more data are needed on the safety and efficacy of cannabidiol oil, a non-psychoactive marijuana derivative, to treat seizures in children.
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.