Georgia Senate proposes its own medical marijuana bill

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ATLANTA, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – The State Senate has created its own medical marijuana bill.  SB 185 would create clinical trials for cannibidiol products to treat people under the age of 18 who suffer from medication-resistant epilepsies. 

The House of Representatives’ proposal, also known as HB 1, would allow the drug to treat nine different medical conditions with a low THC oil medication.

State Representative Allen Peake tells 41NBC, the Senate’s proposal isn’t going to make the significant changes this state needs. 

"What the Senate bill did is ratify that we can have clinical trials here in Georgia. They’re already on going," explains Peake.

He claims the trials aren’t helping enough people.

"There are only two children in the clinical trial that’s on going at GRU. Even if it was expanded, they would only go to 50 or 100. There are thousands of epilepsy patients," adds Peake.  "It will not bring any medical refugees back home and it leaves behind every cancer patient, every MS patient, and those with Parkinson disease and ALS."

Senator Lindsey Tippins was uncomfortable with HB 1’s attempt to allow cannibidiol oil to treat a number of different medical conditions.

"One of the qualifying criteria is cancer. That means if I have a skin cancer on my arm, I can possess cannibidiol oil. I’m not sure that we want to allow legislation that is that broadly undefined," argues Tippins.

He explains his bill, SB 185, addresses the issue that first came to the legislature last year: pediatric seizures. He agrees with Peake that there’s a bigger problem in Georgia involving this experimental drug. However, he feels the only way lawmakers are going to make headway is if they provide concrete evidence cannibidiol oil is effective and ethical.

"I think the only way you’re going to ever get it approved by FDA for dispensing through approved medical protocol is through clinical testing," claims Tippins. 

Senator Tippins says a Senate committee will review SB 185 on Thursday.

Representative Peake expects a Senate committee to review HB 1 within the next few weeks.