Georgia lawmakers have now made it to the other side. That is, the other side of so-called Crossover Day, which took place Monday at the state Capitol. They are now three-quarters of the way through the 2014 legislative session, and barreling toward the end, currently scheduled for March 20. Any bill that didn’t pass one of the General Assembly’s chambers Monday won’t have a shot at becoming law in the final ten days of this year’s 40-day legislative session.
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.
There is growing discussion among state lawmakers about potentially legalizing medical marijuana in Georgia. 20 other states and the District of Columbia have already done it. Governor Nathan Deal did not mention it during his State of the State address Wednesday, nor is there any bill before the legislature. But there is talk. Republican state Representative Allen Peake of Macon has taken to social media to explore the issue after his recent change of heart on the issue.