ATLANTA, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Families with children prescribed to use THC oil are no longer battling issues with the state to use it, but they are up against federal law when it comes to administering the drug at school.
Now legislators at the state capitol are working to find solutions.
More than 3,000 Georgians are currently on the registry for medical cannabis and at least a third of them are children.
“These children need this medicine. It’s having a significant improvement on the quality of life for them,” said District 141 State Rep. Allen Peake.
The trouble comes with school systems across the state and federal laws saying they can’t take their medication on the school grounds.
“Most of the school systems have said it’s a violation of federal law and therefore ‘we’re not going to allow it at all’ and so that really presents a challenge for families whose kids need this medicine on a daily basis,” Peake explained.
It’s a challenge for families like the Harris’s in Houston County. Their son C.J. was diagnosed with epilepsy in 10th grade, and after all other medications failed they decided to give Medical Cannabis oil a try.
“I took him of the medication totally and started him on the oil and then once we did that he had his last seizure January 10th 2017 so we’re in February and he hasn’t had a seizure since,” said Cj’s father Curtis Harris.
But despite positive results using the THC oil, C.J’s father says the school’s response to being asked to allow him to take the oil there was far from positive.
“Obviously he has epilepsy, he has this medication that he takes. Once she found out what the medication was it was a situation where you would’ve thought he brought a gun to school the way they reacted,” said Harris.
C.J’s story is just one of many children in Georgia stuck between state and federal regulations bu state lawmakers are listening.
“Congress needs to change the law that’s the ultimate solution here but in the meantime we need to try and find a solution for Georgia citizens,” said Peake.
For he and others on the medical cannabis committee, the solution is compromise from school systems to make exceptions for students on the registry.
“It doesn’t appear that there’s really anything that the school system can do to a school system who says, ‘Hey, we will work with the families,’ so that’s what we’re trying to continue to say is…maybe there’s a way to find a solution that does work for the families that doesn’t put the school system in a difficult spot as well,” he told 41NBC.
In the meantime, he and others on the committee are continuing to advocate for changes in the laws to keep up with the needs of the people.
Though his legislation to allow the cultivation of medical cannabis oil was shot down by Governor Deal, he says his number one priority now is the fight for medical cannabis use in schools for children on the registry.