Medical marijuana is coming to Georgia. A bill that would legalize the drug for limited medicinal purposes passed the Georgia House Wednesday and is expected to be signed by Gov. Nathan Deal. Georgia would become the 24th U.S. state to approve the use of medical marijuana.
The bill would specifically allow for the use of marijuana-based oil with a doctor’s recommendation for a list of eight diseases, including Crohn’s, cancer and ALS. The House passed the legislation with a resounding 160-1 vote on Wednesday -- only Rep. Stephen Allison (R-Blairsville) voted against the bill -- and Deal has indicated that he will sign the bill into law, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Rep. Allen Peake (R-Macon) named and fought for the bill -- titled “Haleigh’s Hope Act” -- in honor of 5-year old Haleigh Cox. Cox suffers from frequent severe seizures, and her mother, Jenea, claims that only the marijuana-based oil effectively treats her daughter’s condition. The Cox family moved to Colorado in early 2014 after failing to lobby Georgia lawmakers to pass a bill earlier. Jenea Cox says that with the oil there are no side effects, unlike with prescription medication the family previously tried.
"I'm a true believer in the oil. It's the only thing that's changed since we've gotten here is the oil," Jenea Cox told Atlanta NBC news affiliate 11 Alive.
The passing of the bill in Georgia comes on the same day that a House committee in North Carolina killed legislation that would have led to the approval of medical marijuana in that state. The committee meeting Wednesday -- where pro-legalization activists testified -- turned contentious after lawmakers on the committee quickly voted against the bill without speaking during the proceedings. One supporter of the bill allegedly punched Rep. Dean Arp (R-Union), according to WRAL.
Things went much more smoothly in Georgia. Deal is expected to sign “Haleigh’s Hope Act” into law Thursday.