Hundreds of families in Georgia will now have access to medical marijuana to treat severe seizure disorders and other illnesses.
Governor Nathan Deal is expected to sign a bill legalizing cannabis oil after the legislative session ends Thursday.
The cannabis oil law will be life-changing 8-year-old Zoey, who now has access to the one treatment her family has been fighting for.
GA Governor To Sign Cannabis Oil Bill Into Law
Sheli has shared her daughter’s story with NewsChannel9’s Briona Arradondo over the past year. Zoey’s rare disorder causes multiple seizures, so Sheli said they’ve tried more than 20 medications and are running out of options.
“Not a lot of people know what it’s like to have a child that is so heavily medicated that you don’t even know who they are,” said Gilley.
That’s why cannabis oil for medical use means so much to the family. The bill, known as House Bill 1 or Haleigh’s Hope Act, covers eight conditions, including seizure disorders, cancer and sickle cell anemia.
“There’s no side effects, and so things like medications have so many issues with them,” said Gilley. “They may calm down the seizures, but then the side effects are so many.”
The move from the State Capitol also allows continued research to study the effects of cannabis oil, which comes from the marijuana plant but does not create a high.
But there is no growing facility in-state, so getting it to Georgia remains against federal law.
“We want to be able to provide a natural medication to our child that could help them have a better quality of life, and we don’t want to be in trouble for it,” said Gilley.
In preparation for the change in law, Governor Deal has ordered state agencies to take steps ahead of the law’s enactment. The Georgia Medical Composite Board will create forms for patients to get their doctors to sign off on for medical cannabis treatment, and then the Department of Health will issue qualifying patients registration cards showing they can legally possess medical marijuana.