• Senate committee votes to approve medical marijuana bill


    ATLANTA - Members of a Georgia Senate committee have to vote to approve a bill that would legalize medical marijuana for children with severe seizure disorders.
    The sponsor of the bill says he's come up with a way that Georgia parents living in Colorado, where the cannabis oil is legal, can finally come back home.
    Georgia parents would be able to get it and won't have to worry about getting arrested.
    A small party was held at the state Capitol Wednesday to say goodbye to Janea Cox and her 4-year-old daughter, Haleigh, who are moving to Colorado Thursday where medical marijuana is already legal and helping kids like Haleigh who suffer from severe seizure disorders.
    “We'll still be on a waiting list once we get out there. We have to meet with two doctors and get our red card and then we'll be on the 'realm of caring' wait list. We're not sure how long it's going to take us to get the medication,” Janea Cox told Channel 2’s Lori Geary.
    Cox said she doesn't know how long they'll have to stay in Colorado after weeks of lobbying lawmakers.
    The parents now have a lot of hope after the bill's sponsor told them he has a deal with Senate leaders that would offer parents caught with cannabis oil in Georgia immunity from prosecution.
    “So if you're a mother or father and you've gone somewhere out of state to get oil for your child and bring it back, you can be assured that you're not going to be arrested and not going to have DFCS taking your child away. That's a big, big step,” said state Rep. Allen Peake.
    “To be able to fly out there, get this medication and possibly be able to come home and be back with our families, I mean.... there's no words right now,” Cox told Geary.  
    There's no guarantee the bill will get final approval from the Senate and then the OK from Gov. Nathan Deal.
    “We're living minute to minute with Haleigh. We don't know how much longer she has,” Cox said.  
    That's why Cox says she can't wait for Georgia lawmakers to act, because Haleigh's anti-seizure meds are taking their toll.
    “My daughter is 4 years old and she quit breathing over 250 times in the past two months. It has to be a human side of the story,” Cox said.
    In order to help get the bill out of the Senate committee Wednesday, Peake said he had to compromise and tack on a Senate bill that would expand insurance coverage for autism.
    That could be a huge hurdle to overcome in the House.

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