Medical marijuana testimony shared

After their first push to legalize medical marijuana at the General Assembly this year failed, state lawmakers are joining hands and gearing up for their second battle.

A joint study committee stopped in Macon Wednesday afternoon to hear testimony from ten people.

It was an emotional day as those who believe medical cannabis oil could help them or their families took the stand.

"I might look fine to you on the outside, but on the inside, my body is screaming in pain," Katie Crosby told the committee. "Do you like going to football games, going out to eat, going to concerts? I do too, but I can't."

She turns 26 next week. All she wants is relief from years of chronic pain.

"Stabbing, throbbing, constant, you just feel like you're going to go crazy," she said.

Dozens of medications, countless relief efforts, and $100,000 later, doctors still don't have an answer.

"I've been to more than 20, I know that."

Through research, Crosby thinks medical marijuana could be the answer.

"You can't get addicted to it, you can't get high, it's almost like another supplement to take," she said.

She can't describe the pain of knowing that taking the cannabis oil that could help her is a crime.

"I can't even put it into words how much I want to get my hands on it," she said.

The nearly dozen testimonies echoed Crosby's.

Christina Cusack carries a baggie full of pills every day, a treatment for depression and symptoms of multiple sclerosis, among other things.

"It's like somebody's taking my spine and stuck it into my pelvis and grinding it. Just a bone on bone grinding," Cusack said.

Unlike Crosby, she's tried medical cannabis herself.

"My pain? It was gone. I wanted to stand right up," she said.

Right now, she walks with a cane to help her straighten her gait. She's fighting to remove the stigma of medical marijuana.

"I want them to keep their minds and their hearts open. I want to them listen and educate themselves," she said.

Jason Cranford, a botanist and caregiver of Haleigh Cox, also spoke to the committee.

He's studied medical cannabis for the past six years.

If you remember Haleigh, she's the Forsyth girl who suffered hundreds of seizures a day.

Her mom, Janea, moved her to Colorado a few months ago for cannabis oil treatment, while her dad, Brian, had to stay behind in Georgia.

Medical cannabis is already legal in Colorado.

Cranford says the effects have been astounding.

Haleigh can sit up, say "Momma" and is more alert than ever before. Her seizures went from more than 200 a day to none in the past week.

Lawmakers say they're confident the bill will pass the General Assembly next year.

Their next challenge is deciding whether Georgia will grow its own cannabis oil and how to distribute it among patients.

The next meeting is on October 1 at Georgia Gwinnett College in Lawrenceville.

That's where law enforcement officials will testify on the effects of legalizing medical marijuana in the state.

Follow 13WMAZ's Anita Oh on Twitter @anita_oh.


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