Deal steps into medical marijuana fight - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Deal steps into medical marijuana fight


A bill that would have legalized medical marijuana in Georgia failed but that does not mean the fight is over.

Gov. Nathan Deal said he will look into ways the state can make the controversial drug available for children who suffer with life-threatening seizures.

"All of us were moved by the families and the children," Deal said. "The issue will be on my radar screen."

The governor would not specifically say what action he would take but he did say he would consult with state agencies.

"I will be talking with our state agencies who have any involvement with this issue to see if there's something we can do to make this treatment possible," Deal said.

The bill that would have legalized medical marijuana for children suffering from severe forms of epilepsy fell flat on the last day of the legislative session despite what seemed like overwhelming support among lawmakers.

The state senate tied the medical-marijuana bill to a controversial bill that would have required insurance companies to cover treatment for children with autism.

The intertwined proposals never came up for a final vote in the Senate and died as this year's legislative session ended, dragging the hopes of parents whose kids suffer life-threatening forms of epilepsy with it.

Jonathan Jiles, whose 5-month-old son Kason suffers from a rare form of epilepsy known as Ohtahara Syndrome called the lack of action "political game playing at the highest level."

"There were very few lawmakers who voted against the bill. There's absolutely no reason for a vote tally that high for the bill not to even pass," Jiles said.

The Governor said he will examine ways to make medical marijuana available in Georgia so families of critically ill children do not have to wait until next year's legislative session for lawmakers to debate the issue again.

"It is an issue the state of Georgia needs to address at the some point and probably a little more deliberately than this legislative session offers," Deal said.

"We're very optimistic that Gov. Deal is going to do something."

State Rep. Allen Peake, who sponsored the medical marijuana bill, said he would help the governor any way he can. 

Copyright 2014 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly