Atlanta – Advocates for medical marijuana are gearing up for a fight in the legislature this upcoming session.
And one local mom is leading the charge.
“It was a kick in the gut, honestly,” Katie McKoy said.
McKoy was in the hospital with one of her sons when the legislature shot down a bill that would have given everyone prescribed cannabis oil legal access.
“I got to see the bill fail from the ICU bed,” she said.
Now, just eight conditions qualify for the treatment.
Both of her sons suffer from mitochondrial disease, which is covered. But her younger son has a debilitating disease which is not.
“NFB tumors grown on nerve endings throughout his entire body,” McKoy said. “He has a brain tumor on his optic nerve and he has a lot of spinal chord tumors.”
Currently, in state cultivation is also illegal. So someone with a medical marijuana license can possess it in Georgia, but they can’t buy it here.
McKoy said the restrictions place a cruel burden on families who are already suffering so much.
“Why is my child more worthy of a medication even though there are other children who are equally in pain and equally suffering,” she said.
State Rep. Alan Peake said they’re working with the governor’s office right now to expand the list of approved illnesses.
He said they’re targeting autism, Tourette syndrome and chronic pain in 2017.
The goal is to get people with these illnesses off of narcotics.
“These kids are zombies when they’re on these pharmaceuticals,” McKoy said. “When they’re on cannabis oil, they’re able to wake up; they have a quality of life; they’re able to learn.”
McKoy said the change is vital for their quality of life.
“I want to see politicicans stop playing games with the lives of those who are suffering.
Peake has not yet introduced the bill because he wants to see how far the governor is willing to go. He said that, ideally, he wants to see legal in-state cultivation of cannabis oil.