Medical marijuana bill fails

mlee@macon.comMarch 20, 2014 

ATLANTA -- As the clock ticked through the final hours of the annual state legislative session, state Rep. Allen Peake launched a last-minute but ultimately unsuccessful plan to pass his medical marijuana bill.

“For these families, their reality is ... a child who is going to have one hundred seizures tomorrow,” said Peake, R-Macon, author of House Bill 885, which would have decriminalized possession of a liquid medicine derived from cannabis that’s used to treat pediatric seizures.

With just more than two hours remaining in this year’s session, Peake had pinned his hopes on a maneuver that unhitched his bill from an unrelated issue of requiring insurance companies to cover pediatric autism treatment.

Earlier, the autism bill was linked with his medical marijuana effort.

But in the last hour of this year’s session, the Senate failed to take up the medical marijuana issue for a final vote.

By 11:30 p.m. Thursday, Peake had admitted defeat.

Monroe County 4-year-old Haleigh Cox inspired Peake’s push for his medical marijuana bill.

The girl had up to 200 seizures daily since becoming afflicted with a rare disorder before her first birthday.

“Her seizures have been dramatically reduced. She’s a lot more alert. She smiles at us when we smile at her. She used to not smile so much,” said Haleigh’s mother, Janea Cox, via phone from Colorado, where the two are renting a home so Haleigh legally can get the liquid medicine referred to in the bill.

It’s an oil rich in cannabidiol, or CBD, which is a compound found in cannabis. The compound does not cause users to get high.

If Peake’s bill had been successful, families would have been able go to a place such as Colorado where the liquid is legal under state law, get a prescription for it and have it filled there.

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