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Ga. House Approves Medical Marijuana


Patients suffering from illnesses including cancer and seizures could take a form of medical marijuana under a plan that Georgia’s state legislators backed Monday ahead of an important deadline that sorts out which bills go forward and which will likely fail for the year.

Legislative rules force Georgia’s state lawmakers to get their bills approved by at least one chamber of the General Assembly by what’s commonly called “Crossover Day,” or else those bills are unlikely to get to the governor’s desk. That rule can be bent, but it is difficult.

Among the biggest debates was a plan to let people suffering from the side effects of cancer treatment, glaucoma and some seizure disorders to take products derived from cannabis oil in the hope it will ease their symptoms. House lawmakers voted 171-4 to approve the bill. It now heads to the state Senate.

The cannabis could be given to patients orally, as a liquid or pill, or administered by injections. State Rep. Allen Peake, R-Macon, the bill’s sponsor, said the cannabis could bring relief for children who suffer from hundreds of seizures daily. He said cannabis oil is low in THC, the active ingredient that produces the marijuana high.

“It is not a slippery slope toward legalization of cannabis for recreational use,” Peake said. “I stand firmly against that direction and will fight it with all my energy.”

Several politicians acknowledged they were initially reluctant to change statewide drug policy during an election year, but Peake urged them not to delay by setting up study committees or holding the bill until next year.

“We cannot move fast enough,” he said.

Janea Cox hugged her daughter, 4-year-old Haleigh, during the vote. Her daughter has up to 100 seizures daily, and her mother and other parents have lobbied for the legislation.

“We are all so overwhelmed right now,” Cox said, crying. “We had so much support in there I can’t imagine it not passing. It’s crazy to be a part of history. I think we’re all in shock right now.”

There were skeptics. Rep. Sharon Cooper, chairwoman of the Health and Human Service Committee, voted for the proposal but cautioned that it is flawed. Cooper said research colleges that provide medical marijuana under the proposed law could lose federal funding and their officials could be prosecuted.

Republicans voted to make it tougher for Georgia’s state government to expand its Medicaid program, undercutting a Democratic health care overhaul from President Obama’s administration. The legislation would forbid Georgia state government from changing the income eligibility rules — and enabling more people to join the program — without legislative approval.

Obama originally wanted state governments to allow people too poor to afford subsidized health insurance to enroll in Medicaid, which pays for health care for the poor, elderly, disabled and low-income families with children. Republican leaders say the plan would be too expensive in the long run.

“Federal government programs, perhaps without exception, end up being more expensive than originally planned, and the federally government is already mortgaged to the hilt,” said GOP state Rep. Jan Jones, the speaker pro-tempore.

Meanwhile, the House voted 115-59 to approve a bill known as the Georgia Health Care Freedom Act, which would prohibit the state from using money or resources to advocate for Medicaid expansion or to establish a health exchange under the federal health care law.

Read more: The Telegraph

What people are saying

4 thoughts on “Ga. House Approves Medical Marijuana

  1. the greatest plant in the universe is almost free, LET FREEDOM RING!!!13

    long live the INTERWEBZ, power to the people

    "any doctor against marijuana is a doctor of death" – cali secret 420

    from 0 states to half the country, from low 20% approval to almost 70%, cali runs this planet by 2 decades, time to tie marijuana to the 2014, and 2016 elections, out with the old, in with the new

    20 years behind us southern states, sad and scary….nobody denies freedoms like the south, nobody…the top ten incarcerators on the planet are southern states…even if marijuana reforms did pass the republiCANTS in charge would deny you all your freedoms, centuries of practice…no matter though, we never planned on getting your backwards brethren from day one, half the country already but not one southern state, lol…

    Average spent per inmate a year = $31,286 (profit and police over people)
    Average spent per student a year = $10,605 (dumber and more in debt, each one of us is liable for around $40,000 of rising American debt)

    love and freedom forever


  2. Justin Braden Lewis says:

    It's nice that our state is acting like their willing to help with medical care for the poor, elderly, disabled and low-income families with children, BUT, when the doctors don't even want to accept the patients with this type of insurance coverage, because the GA Medicaid program does not even want to pay the physicians fairly or in a timely manner, making it impossible for these needy people to even get decent treatment, then what is the point of the program? To make GA politicians look good in the eyes of less intelligent voters who are barely being kept alive to be able to vote? Get it together Georgia!

  3. Kay Lewis says:

    Well I'm glad I have Ga. Medicaid. I have Small Co-pay's for Dr.s, Hospital (Inpatient, or Out Patient) Lab work, Test, Med's, etc. True we are limited on Dr.s, and Specialist, WE ALL NEED, as many are opting out of the system, as Dr.s receive low payment's, and slow payment's, from Ga. Medicaid. It also Hurts ALL of us on Low Income, Elderly, and Disabled, as WE have no Vision (Eyeglasses, Hearing Aides, or Dental) help for Adult's. Ga. Medicaid cut's most programs off at age 19. They should set up ALL County Health Dept.s to assist Adult's with NEEDED Dental Care, or Mobile Health Vehicle's to Assist ALL on Medicaid, or Medicare. WE aren't asking for Free Services, even Sliding Scale Fee based on one's income, would HELP ALOT of people in Desperate NEED, or if ALL even have to Pay Larger Co-Pay's, in order to have services. My youngest child had Back Surgery, and Orthodontist for deformities, plus, my oldest had Knee Surgery, and Heart Stint's, I've had Knee Surgery, Tonsil's removed, and Cataract Surgeries. I do feel Blessed that Ga. Medicaid helped with ALL those expenses for me, and my children. Just like I recently had a preventive Colon test, that found Cancer, and Dr. got it all in time. I do think Medical Pot Oil will Help Many, but I think it may Need To Cover More Diseases…..

  4. Kay Lewis says:

    I also don't think that Pain Management Clinics should be Injection Mill's, because Dr.s are getting Larger Payment's from Ga. Medicaid, compared to the low payment they get for office exam, and prescribing Pain med's.

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