Georgia MMJ bill progresses, now with 8 health conditions – The Cannabist
Published: Mar 20, 2015, 9:56 am By Bill Hendrick, Associated Press ATLANTA — After more than four hours of haggling and sometimes rancorous debate, Georgia’s powerful Senate Health and Human Services Committee on Thursday passed its own version of a House bill that seeks to allow medical marijuana to be used for eight medical conditions, deleting only one diagnosis in a measure pushed by state Rep. Allen Peake, R-Macon.
His bill, which passed overwhelmingly in the House, would have allowed the use of cannabis oil for cancer, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, seizure disorders, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, Mitochondrial disease, Fibromyalgia, Parkinson’s disease and sickle cell anemia. The Senate’s committee deleted Fibromyalgia but left the rest.
The measure now goes to the full Senate.
Peake said he was disappointed that Fibromyalgia was taken out, but hopes this version of the bill will be signed into law by Gov. Nathan Deal.
State Sen. Renee Unterman, R-Buford and chairwoman of Health and Human Services, had to warn the packed hearing room in the Capitol to keep quiet, and at one point threatened to have audience members who groaned aloud forcibly removed.
Dozens, perhaps scores, of proposed amendments were debated.
Unterman has said that Deal wants a medical marijuana bill. Several dozen states have such laws, about 12 of those for epilepsy only. The state Senate has passed a bill setting up a five-year study for people under 21 with epilepsy but that research has just begun.
Peake pleaded for the committee to pass his bill intact. The vote finally came after testimony by physicians and scientists from across the nation who were either for, or vehemently against, medical marijuana use. Some witnesses said the state would be wrong to pass any type of bill that could in theory open the door to Colorado-style legalization.
Katie McCoy, who said she has three children with listed conditions, citied studies in Israel and other countries that she said prove cannabis can help.
Much of the testimony was confusing. Physicians and committee members debated the percentage of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, needed to be effective, citing often contradictory scientific studies.
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