Parents meet with lawmakers about legalizing medical marijuana

by: Lori Geary Updated:

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ATLANTA - It was an emotional day at the state capitol Wednesday as dozens of parents pleaded with lawmakers to legalize medical marijuana for their kids who suffer from severe seizure disorders.
 
Channel 2’s Lori Geary met up with several of the families Wednesday as the parents made their pleas to lawmakers, telling them this could be a lifesaving medication for their kids.
 
“Without this medicine, I don't know if my child is going to make it much longer,” mother Janea Cox told Geary.
 
Cox left her 4-year-old daughter's hospital bedside to come to the Georgia Capitol to lobby Wednesday.
 
A bill named after her daughter Haleigh, who suffers from a severe seizure disorder, could legalize medical marijuana in the form of cannabis oil in Georgia. But it faces an uphill battle. 
 
Several parents that have kids battling similar disorders joined the fight.
 
Geary got to visit with 3-year-old Kindle Baggarly, whose dad said he's already facing tough decisions with the current medications that are legal.
 
“She was having 30 to 40 seizures a day, a 30 percent chance of blindness in your kids. That's a decision you make,” Wade Baggarly said.
 
Stephanie King brought her 13-year-old daughter Emily to meet lawmakers and said the medications she's on now are causing severe side effects and forcing her to sleep most of the day.
 
“We had to sign a release saying we wouldn't sue the hospital if she died,” King said.
 
Aaron Klepinger, who just moved his family from east Cobb County to Colorado, spoke from personal experience.
 
Geary met him in Colorado Springs, where cannabis oil is legal. He says his son Hunter went from spending most of his days suffering seizures to almost none after the first dose. 
 
“Let's get past all the politics. Let's look at the science, the children that are being helped by this now,” Klepinger said.
 
Cox fears time is running out for her little girl.
 
“I promise no matter what happens, I’m going to fight for your kids. I’m going to fight for Haleigh and I’m not going to stop,” Cox said.  
 
Some lawmakers Geary talked to said they're skeptical because they haven't seen scientific studies on the use of cannabis oil and say much of the evidence is anecdotal.
 
Klepinger says he's seen the science firsthand with his son Hunter.
 
Hearings on the issue start Monday.



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