By Steve Elliott
You have to wonder about the priorities of the Georgia Legislature. They found time this session to pass a law mandating drug testing for welfare recipients. They even passed a law allowing guns in churches and bars. But they didn't find time to pass a law which would have helped children fight seizures with marijuana-derived CBD oil.
The effort to bring relief to Georgia children died at midnight on Thursday despite votes favoring the move in both houses, reports 13 WMAZ.
On the last day of the legislative session, the Senate unanimously approved, 54-0, House Bill 885 legalizing cannabidiol oil for medicinal uses, but added provisions requiring insurance coverage for treatment of autism in children.
The bill's main sponsor, Rep. Allen Peake (R-Macon), said the bill wouldn't pass the House with the autism provision because it's seen as "increasing the cost of health insurance for small businesses."
In a hail mary effort late Thursday night, the House passed yet another bill including medical marijuana and quickly sent it to the Senate. Rep. Peake begged the Senate to pass the bill, saying on Twitter that the bill was on life support.
But state Senator Renee Unterman of Gwinnett County, chairwoman of the Senate Health and Human Services committee -- which added the autism provision -- said she was "insisting" on it, and the Senate leadership closed ranks behind her.
By Steve Elliott
A bill that would make CBD oil, a non-psychoactive form of medical marijuana, available in Georgia was approved in committee late on Wednesday.
House Bill 885, sponsored by Rep. Allen Peake (R-Macon), was unanimously approved by the House Health and Human Services Committee after a two-hour debate, and is expected to reach the House floor on Monday, according to Peake, reports Aaron Gould Sheinin at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
A major change was made after the bill hit a snag. Peake's original plan was to important a type of high-CBD cannabis oil from Colorado that can be used to treat certain seizure disorders; he wrote the law after meeting pediatric epilepsy patient Haleigh Cox and her family. But federal law bans transporting any form of marijuana across state lines.
The version of Peake's bill approved on Wednesday would allow Georgia's five research universities to grow marijuana to extract the oil, which has proven helpful in quelling seizures.
Monday was the last day for bills to move from one chamber to another, so Monday's vote was crucial.
By Steve Elliott
A Georgia family is fighting for access to a type of oil derived from marijuana to help their four-year-old daughter treat a disorder that causes up to 100 seizures a day.
Brian and Janea Cox want their daughter Haleigh to try a compound made from "a special kind of marijuana that's high in CBD (cannabidiol) that helps the brain, and low in THC," (tetrahydrocannabinol), the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis, reports Maggie Lee at The Telegraph.
Janea Cox said her daughter is on benzodiazepines and opiates that make her sleep 18 hours a day, but can't get the cannabis oil that could help her the most, reports Lori Geary at WSB-TV. Children in Colorado with similar disorders have seen amazing results after being treated with cannabis oil, which is legal there, she said.
"It's good to see people are opening their eyes," Janea said. "Hundreds of kids die every day because of seizures. I don't want her to be one of those kids. So, I'm going to constantly fight."
Back in 1980, the Georgia Legislature created the Controlled Substances Therapeutic Research Program, setting up a process for doctors to investigate the effects of marijuana on patients with glaucoma and other conditions. But that program was unworkable as written; it never attracted any researchers or patients.