• Parents fight to have diseases added to medical marijuana coverage

    Updated:

    ATLANTA - The parents of a Cobb County boy with a rare disease are part of a push to get Gov. Nathan Deal to expand the state’s medical marijuana law and allow the production of cannabis oil in the state.
     
    Right now it's legal for some patients to possess cannabis oil but they can't get access to it in Georgia.
     
    The pleas from Adra and Brian Underwood on behalf of their 1-year-old son Reid did little to move commission members on the growing of medical marijuana in Georgia.
     
    “His pain is beyond comprehension for you and me,” Brian Underwood told the medical marijuana commission Wednesday. 
     
    At first glance, Reid Underwood looks like he has a sunburn. But he suffers from a rare skin disease that is so severe if his parents hold him they tear off his skin. 

    [Special Section: Medical Marijuana in Georgia]

    “Adra pours bleach and water to his raw skin as this is one of the only ways to clean the wounds,” Brian Underwood said.
     
    Channel 2’s Lori Geary was there as the Underwoods testified before state leaders not only for their child's condition to be added to the cannabis oil list, but to also allow the growing of it so they would have access. 
     
    “Breaking the law to bring back the oil to this state is unacceptable,” Underwood said.
     
    “I have grave concerns about that,” Deal said.
     
    Last year, Deal signed the law that allows patients with certain conditions to possess cannabis oil but patients must travel out of state to get it, breaking federal law.  

    [READ: Georgia begins issuing medical marijuana cards]

    But Deal sides with law enforcement on the growing issue.
     
    “I think it's enough for us to be very, very cautious and to take our time and now's not the time to expand beyond where we are,” Deal said.  
     
    “I'm not going to pick a fight with the governor because I’ll lose in that case,” said Republican state Rep. Allen Peake.
     
    Peake led the fight and won to legalize medical marijuana in Georgia for patients with certain conditions. He says he'll still push to expand the law.
     
    “What we can do is make a compelling argument of how we can maximize the health benefits for citizens in our state by minimizing the public safety risk law enforcement have,” Peake said.

    [READ: Channel 2 tours Colorado lab that creates medical marijuana oil]

    Geary followed the Underwoods to Deal's office where they hand delivered a letter hoping to change his mind. 
     
    For now, they'll keep Reid on powerful narcotics to try and ease the pain.
     
    “It is heartbreaking as a parent to see and even more heartbreaking to be a parent that tortures your child,” Underwood said.
     
    The commission voted 11-5 against the growing of medical marijuana Wednesday. They did agree to add other conditions to the cannabis oil list.
     
    The recommendations will now go to Governor Deal.
     
    Rep. Peake said he'll still introduce a bill to grow medical marijuana in Georgia under tight restrictions.

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