Lawmakers renew push for medical marijuana in Georgia

For Haleigh Cox, every small step and every smile is a gift.

"She celebrated her 5th birthday last Saturday, says mom Janea Cox, "and we were told by doctors that she more than likely wasn't going to make it to her 5th birthday, so it was a pretty great celebration to be able to see her thriving more than she was when we were in Georgia. "

After 4 months living in Colorado, Cox says a form of medical marijuana has brought Haleigh's seizures down from hundreds a day to just 6 or 7 on a bad day.

Now the girl who at one point stopped breathing in January is becoming a new person.

"We were able to put her in a toddler swing for the first time, and she held herself up the entire time. I think she wanted to swing for about 30 minutes. My child's being able to be a child again," says Cox.

But for all her success, Colorado just isn't the same as home.

Haleigh and Janea had hoped to come back to a Georgia where her cannabis oil treatment was legal.

But a bill sponsored by State Representative Allen Peake (R-Macon) failed to pass on the last day of this year's General Assembly.

Peake says next year will be different, and says Georgia's minds are changing on the issue of medical marijuana.

"We believe that polling has showed that they clearly want medical cannabis as an option in Georgia, so we need to figure out what's the best structure, the best infrastructure that will work in our state," says Peake.

They're doing that by setting up five public hearings with everyone from law enforcement to the medical community to discuss how the cannabis oil would work in Georgia.

The first draft of Peake's bill initially allowed the oil to be grown in Georgia.

The final version only allowed families to avoid prosecution if they bought it somewhere else.

Peake says that's not enough. "Any legislation we draft that doesn't provide a growing solution in Georgia, I think will be a failed piece of legislation," Peake says.

The first public hearing is scheduled for August 27th in Atlanta. There will be a hearing in Macon on September 10th.

Follow 13WMAZ's Tom George on Twitter @thetomgeorge


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