Lawmakers reveal new findings at medical marijuana public hearing
Wednesday lawmakers at the capitol hosted a public hearing on medical marijuana legislation.
“We heard testimonies from a lot of families and citizens that want medical cannabis oil in our state. These are some of the same stories I hear almost every day,” said State Rep. Allen Peake.
Many of those testimonies were from citizens with disorders wanting access to medical marijuana.
Members of the health and human services committee also revealed a new discovery in states with cannabis laws that could help House bill 65 garner support. They found a link between fewer opioid related deaths and states with medical cannabis laws in place. Peake says the question is simple.
“Why not expand the conditions so that more citizens who have debilitating illnesses could potentially benefit?”
Finding a solution around Georgia’s existing law on medical marijuana is the hard part.
“We still have the problem of where do you access the product and that’s still the flaw in our law until we address that,” Peake said.
If passed, House bill 65 will add AIDS, autism, Alzheimer’s, PTSD, Tourette’s syndrome, and intractable pain to the list of illnesses that qualify for medical cannabis use.
Dublin native Angela Simons is battling lupus. Under Georgia’s current law, her illness doesn’t fall in the category for the use of medical cannabis.
“With the language being so narrow, that’s the problem we have regarding cannabis oil in Georgia,” she said.
She’s just one of the many Georgians who’ve slipped through the cracks because of the statute’s wording.
“We’re suffering. We’re dying. We deserve a better quality of life,” she continued.
Peake the recent findings could play an important role in moving legislation forward.
“I think we’ve taking a good step forward. At the end of the day this is a compassion issue. Are we willing to improve our law so more Georgian’s living with debilitating illnesses and suffer every single day maybe could have a better quality of life?”
For now, Peake’s concern is helping people who don’t fit under the current law to avoid potentially harmful effects of painkillers.
Lawmakers didn’t take any action on House bill 65 at Wednesday’s hearing. They’ll meet again to finalize slight changes on the bill’s wording next Wednesday.