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ATLANTA, Georgia (41NBC/ WMGT) – Lawmakers on the medical cannabis working committee voted to forward House Bill 65 on Wednesday.

The committee’s vote to move the bill forward was a unanimous decision, and one that will include some additional recommendations.

“We have four recommendations we’re looking at adding to the existing bill that I think are improvements to the bill,” said Chairman of the committee State Rep. Allen Peake.

It’ll protect registered cannabis oil users from other states while visiting or traveling through Georgia. In addition, it will grant use of the oil to more Georgians whose disorders aren’t covered under current law, and automatically qualify individuals under hospice care to use it for treatment.

“We’re adding hospice care and adding an addition to ‘intractable pain’ that will allow people to work off being addicted to opioid derivatives,” Peake added.

He says redefining the term “intractable pain” will broaden the number of disorders allowed by law to use medical cannabis as a treatment option.

“It’d be defined as severe pain that does not respond to surgery or prescription drugs or the only alternative would be an opioid derivative,” Peake continued.

At the same time, Peake says he believes it will solve the issue of a growing population hooked on prescription painkillers.

“We have an opioid crisis in our country and in our state. It’s been proven statistically that in states that have medical cannabis laws, there’s a reduction in opioid abuse, prescriptions and deaths,” Peake added.

There are currently 1300 registered medical cannabis oil users in the state of Georgia. With the additional recommendations, patients–instead of doctors, will be responsible for reporting their own progress using the cannabis oil treatment.

Peake says there’s a long process ahead but they hope House Bill 65 will help as many Georgia residents with debilitating illnesses as needed.The next step is passing the bill on to the judiciary non civil committee for debate and discussion.

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