Georgian lawmakers are considering making some changes to the medical marijuana program to fall more in line with other states that have legalized the use of cannabis. However, not everyone agrees with this course of action, including other state officials among patients who depend on cannabis oil and their families.
For several years, Sebastian Cotte has been using medical marijuana to treat Jagger, his son, who suffers from a rare and terminal neurological disorder known as Leigh’s disease. The use of cannabis oil allowed Jagger’s family to cut back on the array of pharmaceuticals, opioids included, to treat his breathing problems, seizures, and other symptoms associated with the disease.
Sebastian Cotte, who swears by the positive effects of the medical marijuana program says other patients should have the same unhindered opportunity. The state’s medical marijuana program made its debut in 2015. However, this year, it faces differing priorities in the Georgia Legislature. Hence, Jagger’s family fears the purported changes will get in the way of the patients’ state of well-being by imposing harsher restrictions on the use of the oil for treating certain medical conditions.
Lawmakers’ Stance on the Medical Marijuana Program
The changes announced by the state’s officials talk about cutting the level of the psychoactive compound in marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), from 5 percent to 3 percent. Senators who voted in favor say this will make the state of Georgia fall more in line with its counterparts that have also legalized the use of marijuana. Ultimately, the bill passed with a 41-12 vote.
However, Jagger’s family say the Senate did not justify their decision properly. Until now, Jagger has been using the 5 percent cannabis oil concentration variant. There is no telling whether his symptoms will be held in check now with the lowered levels of the psychoactive compound.
So far, approximately 1,300 people have been enrolled in the medical marijuana program with no reported problems. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Allen Peake who spearheaded the 2015 creation of the program also eases reporting requirements on prescribing physicians and removes some residency restrictions. Peake says all Georgians who suffer from a debilitating illness should benefit from a law that has worked. On Tuesday, February 21, the bill will be heard in the House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee.
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