Advocates for medical cannabis oil expansion in Georgia could mark milestone by week’s end


LAGRANGE, Ga. — Advocates hoping to expand the use of medical cannabis oil in Georgia may celebrate a momentous milestone this week. The House Rules Committee will look at a revised Senate Bill 16. The bill includes cannabis oil coverage for autism and five additional conditions.

Georgia lawmakers have a tough task in the current legislative session, as they work to compromise on new medicinal marijuana legislation.

The path is now a lot clearer for this medical cannabis bill. The new version of the bill includes coverage at 5% THC for those with autism, AIDS, Tourette’s Syndrome, and Alzheimer’s Disease. Anyone in a hospice program may also receive a lower dosage of THC. Advocate Dale Jackson says the House Rules Committee reviewed the bill Wednesday. He says the Georgia House could vote on the bill Friday. Jackson expects the senate to vote on the bill by next Tuesday.

“This is a fight that every single year up to this point I have been there fighting for my son and being forced to watch deals be made that eliminate my son,” Jackson told News 3.

He says in the past, efforts to expand medical cannabis in Georgia have simply run out of time. Jackson say he made it his main priority in 2017 to make sure lawmakers could agree to the measure early to make the necessary changes by the end of the session.

“We’re looking for an ounce of normalcy,” Jackson said. “From being one of those parents, that’s so much of their hope for an easier day-to-day life. That’s what it all boils down to for us parents. We’re not necessarily looking for a cure for autism or a cure for epilepsy. We’re looking for a better life.”

The LaGrange father has a son with autism. He says the past week has been emotional already. But he notes that this is the closest lawmakers have ever been to expanding medical marijuana. He credits Sen. Allen Peake (R-Macon) Sen. Ben Watson (R-Savannah), and Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle for the progress on the revised bill.

“But it’s almost impossible to put into words what the last three years have been like, and the struggle and the frustration,” Jackson said. “And now to see the possibility of it coming to fruition is amazing.”

Jackson says with thousands of Georgians potentially becoming eligible for medical marijuana if the bill passes, the pressure could mount on lawmakers to consider discussions on creating a legal regulated cultivation program. To learn more about the proposed expansion of medical cannabis in Georgia, click here.

The Georgia legislative session ends Thursday, March 30.

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