Georgia legislators hear from medical cannabis advocates, adversaries

ATLANTA, Ga. -- The Georgia Medical Cannabis Committee met Wednesday afternoon to hear testimony from doctors and patients regarding House Bill 65.

The bill would expand the number of medical conditions eligible to qualify for the legal use of cannabis oil for treatment.

Those testifying Wednesday offered their opinions on the bill based on their experiences with the current law that allows people with one of eight medical conditions to utilize medical cannabis in Georgia.

Some of the conditions that will potentially be added to the list of approved conditions under HB65 include autism spectrum disorder, Alzheimer's disease and post traumatic stress disorder.

The bill would also remove the requirement for doctors to file a quarterly report about the treatments.

The committee also heard expert testimony on how medical cannabis legislation can potentially reduce opioid abuse.

"We have an opioid crisis in our state and here's an opportunity to look at data that clearly shows there's a reduction in option abuse when there's medical cannabis legislation in our state," said Rep. Allen Peake (R-Macon), a longtime advocate for medical cannabis legislation. "So I think it has a direct impact on what we are trying to address right here as well."

Additionally, the committee heard testimony from the public on why they are either for or against HB65 and expanding the conditions.

Next, the bill will be moved out of the special committee and into the House Judiciary Non-civil Committee.

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