A bill that passed 152-8 and now moves to the Senate, would expand the list of diseases that qualify for treatment with cannabis oil from eight to 14. The additional illnesses on the list would include autism spectrum disorder, AIDS, a skin disease known as epidermolysis bullosa, peripheral neuropathy, Tourette’s syndrome and post-traumatic stress disorder.
The measure would represent the next step toward fully legalizing medical marijuana after lawmakers passed a bill last year protecting Georgians from prosecution for possession of cannabis oil if they been authorized by a physician to receive the drug and have signed up with the state for the program.
But the version of the bill that made it to the House floor stopped short of the bill introduced by Rep. Allen Peake last month. The original bill would have permitted the growth, processing and distribution of cannabis oil in Georgia.
Peake, R-Macon, said he was disappointed the legislation was watered down by the House Judiciary Committee (Non-civil). But he said the issue won’t go away as long as Georgia patients need access to cannabis oil without having to go out of state to get the drug.
“At some point, we need to fix this problem,” Peake told his House colleagues before the vote. “Hurting Georgians deserve that from us.”
The bill passed the House early on Crossover Day, the deadline for legislation to clear at least one legislative chamber.
Dave Williams covers Government