North GA moms rally support for medical cannabis bill - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

North GA moms rally support for medical cannabis bill

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DALTON, GA (WRCB ) - The Georgia legislature is considering a bill to legalize the use of medical cannabis. It's getting a lot of attention because it comes from the same plant as marijuana.

It passed unanimously in the committee vote this week. and now heads to the House floor Monday.

Some North Georgia parents are trying to rally support and contact lawmakers to vote in favor of a bill that would legalize the use of medical cannabis. It's sometimes referred to as medical marijuana, but it's actually an oil from the cannabis plant that treats seizure disorders. These parents say passing this bill could save their kids lives.

"The thought that I could actually meet my daughter for the first time without seizures and without medication is overwhelming," Dalton mom Sheli Gilley said.

Dalton mom Sheli Gilley has contacted Georgia lawmakers hoping her daughter's story will persuade them to vote for the medical cannabis bill.

"We're just helpless, and it doesn't seem fair that we don't live in the right state," she said.

7-year-old Zoe suffers from multiple seizures every day. She can't talk and has tried 25 different medications, but still no improvement. Sheli has talked with the parents of kids like Zoe, who moved to Colorado for cannabis treatment and saw instant results. She and Zoe's doctors have hope it will help her, too, if Georgia will legalize it.

"These children are running out of options. They have nothing left and if they don't get this medicine, some of them will die," Sheli said.

Some legislators tried pushing for a year long study first to examine side effects and distribution methods, but it passed the committee vote unanimously anyway. Doctors would manage treatments at academic medical centers.

"We're not looking for legislation for recreational use. That is the last thing on our mind and that won't happen in this legislature I can promise you that," bill sponsor Rep. Allen Peake (R) said, "it's not a four year old smoking a joint. It's not smokable form."

But Chatsworth mom Sarah Callaway worries the association between cannabis and marijuana is enough to keep it from passing. Her seven-month-old daughter Greylynn suffers from seizures called "infantile spasms." On an average day she has around six clusters of 20 to 50 spasms.

"It's an awful feeling to know there's nothing you can do. I mean, I hold her and tell her it's going to be ok, we're going to get through this together," Callaway said.

She's shared her story of ineffective medicines with lawmakers, too.

"She deserves to be able to play and to be a part of this life, not just under medication 24/7 or tired from her seizures she has all day," Callaway said.

If the bill doesn't pass, Callaway and Gilley say they'll be forced to consider leaving their families behind and moving to Colorado.

The Medical Association of Georgia and Georgia Sheriff's Association also support of the bill. Twenty other states have legalized medical cannabis, and 13 states have pending legislation.

Read the full text of Georgia's medical cannabis bill here:


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