A bill to legalize medical marijuana in Georgia has stalled in the house committee.
The biggest hurdle for House Bill 885 to overcome is how to obtain the cannabis oil without breaking any laws. Currently, there are two options: import marijuana from other states or domestically grow it.
State Representative Allen Peake, who drafted the bill, remains hopeful that it will pass. There are both federal and state laws prohibiting the transport of marijuana into Georgia, as well as cultivating it. Peake says he's hoping to bring up conversation about changing the law to allow schools of research to grow marijuana.
"I got to believe that these research institutions would want to see what benefits we could provide to our citizens with this medical cannabis. We've got hurdles, we've got obstacles to face. We ought to find a solution for our citizens," he said.
Bringing marijuana to Georgia is considered a felony and that's why parents are taking their children to Colorado for treatment. Peake hopes to explore other options such as growing hemp crops. Hemp is low in THC and high in CBD, which is very similar to Charlotte's web, the cannabis oil used in Colorado.
"There are some legal opinions that the farm bill would allow a cultivation of a low THC cannabis that is technically hemp. that's why there's such a need to move on this bill now to make sure we have a framework and a structure in the every changing landscape that's related to medical cannabis in our country," said Peake.
The cannabis oil currently used in Colorado to treat children with seizures is legal, but not FDA approved.
In addition to parents rallying for H.B. 885, non-profit organizations also show support. On Thursday, The Epilepsy Foundation expressed support for medical marijuana, saying if patients and doctors feel the benefits outweigh the risks, and that families need to have that legal option now. Peake says hearings will start again this week.