Medical marijuana could be
grown and used in Georgia to treat patients with cancer, glaucoma and seizure
disorders under a bill approved Wednesday by a House panel.
Rep. Allen Peake (R-Macon),
sponsored Haleigh’s Hope Act after learning of 4-year-old Haleigh Cox of Monroe
County, who suffers from epilepsy and endures as many as 100 seizures a day,
For children like Haleigh, a marijuana derivative called cannabidiol (CBD) has significantly reduced the seizures. Parents have said CBD is the only treatment providing relief.
Peake said his bill would
allow academic research institutions to grow the plant, not businesses or
“That's the last thing we want is to allow folks to start growing cannabis in their backyard or anyone, even a business, to do it at this point. We're just doing it for academic research centers,” Peake told WSB TV.
Parent Janea Cox has a child with a seizure disorder, and she favors the medical use of marijuana in Georgia.
“I think it's a good idea to grow it here, that way they can keep tight regulations on it. And they know exactly when it's being grown, how it's tested,” Cox told WSB. “This could be their last possible hope of living a good life.”
The bill now goes to the House and if it wins
passage there would go on to the Senate for approval. If enacted, the Georgia
Composite Medical Board would oversee the use of marijuana derivatives in an
oil or pill form, for treatment of patients within an academic medical center
research setting, under the direction of a physician.
The only conditions approved for treatment would be seizure disorders, glaucoma, and nausea associated with cancer chemotherapy and radiation.
The Marijuana Policy Project says, ”We already know from similar programs in other states that this will be unworkable. Please ask your legislators to support an effective medical marijuana program in Georgia based on MPP’s model bill.”
Twenty other states have medical marijuana laws,
allowing for in-state production, manufacture and distribution for treatment of
patients on the recommendation of their physicians.
In August 2013, the U.S. Justice Department issued an advisory saying federal prosecutors would not pursue investigations of medical marijuana as long as its use complied with the states’ guidelines.