ATLANTA, Ga. (WGCL) — A Georgia bill allowing the limited use of medical marijuana failed to pass both Houses Thursday night.
With less than two hours until the 2014 legislative session ended, the House voted 168 to 2 to approve the limited use of medical marijuana for seizure patients sending the bill back to the Senate, but the bill was never brought to the floor for a vote as time ran out.
The bill would have allowed families to use cannabis oil to treat some seizure disorders. Supporters say the use of the oil helps patients deal with the disorder that can cause hundreds of seizures a day and can be deadly in some instances. The oil comes from the marijuana plant, but supporters said it does not provide a high.
The Senate unanimously approved the original bill, but an amendment was attached to it requiring insurance companies to cover the cost of treating autism in children. That put both proposals in jeopardy when representative Allen Peake, (R) Macon, the author of the marijuana bill, said he did not support the insurance mandate which was proposed by GA. Sen. Renee Unterman. The Senate did vote to study medical marijuana over the next year, but the lack of movement on the marijuana and autism bill was disappointing to many.
“We gave them a clean bill that would provide protection from prosecution from possession of cannabis oil when it was obtained legally from another state. We felt like the focus needed to be on that. It was a big first step for our state, and it didn’t need to be tied up with any other bill, and they chose not to vote on it and I am disappointed in that,” said Peake.
“Everybody loses not just the children with disabilities, not just the parents fighting for their own children. It costs all of us as more children suffer, and that is an insurmountable problem and you can not put a dollar amount on that,” said Melissa Soleris, the mother of a child with autism.