Georgia: Medical Marijuana Bill Approved By Committee, Headed For House Floor
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.
The bill will allow doctors to authorize medical cannabis oil to treat children like Haleigh, a four-year-old from Forsyth, Ga., who suffers from severe seizures. Haleigh's mother, Janea Cox, said Wednesday's vote was a win, reports Judy Le at WMAZ.
"This just means a lot," Cox said. "We feel like we've gotten through so much just through this committee and it just gives us all this extra push of hope that all of our families are looking for right now, Janea said as she wiped away tears.
Committee Chairwoman Sharon Cooper pushed for an FDA-approved form of marijuana, but that process can take up to a decade, and some advocates mentioned these children "don't have time."
"Why wait for the process when there is a cannabis oil proven to work in Colorado?" Peake asked. Committee members responded with a unanimous vote to pass HB 885.