In a landslide vote of 171-4 Monday, the Georgia House of Representatives passed “Haleigh’s Hope Act,” sponsored by Rep. Allen Peake and over 90 others to legalize medical cannabis. Thanks to the leadership and compassion of Rep. Peake and 170 other members of the House, HB 885 is headed to the Senate!
This bill was named for Haleigh Cox, a four-year-old from Forsyth, who suffers more than a hundred seizures per day. Medical cannabis has proven to be effective in treating hundreds of children with conditions similar to Haleigh’s.
Unfortunately, in its current form, HB 885 would not provide the access to medicine that Haleigh and so many Georgia children desperately need. HB 885 relies on teaching hospitals to grow marijuana and process the cannabis-based liquid drops that relieve seizures. However, hospitals depend heavily on federal grants for funding — grants which may be revoked if the hospitals agree to handle the marijuana. A similar program in Maryland has already proven to be unworkable. The sponsor of that legislation, a physician, is seeking solutions to make it effective.
As Rep. Peake told WSB-TV yesterday, “I still got a big mountain to climb” — the bill will need to be amended to include dispensaries.
In Michigan on Tuesday, Sen. Rick Jones’s SB 783 passed the Senate with a vote of 31 to 7. This bill — which is now pending in the House Judiciary Committee — would allow landlords to prohibit medical marijuana cultivation and smoking in the privacy of one’s residence. Meanwhile, more sensible bills including HB 4271 and HB 5104, which protect patient access, currently languish in committee.
This bill would allow landlords to prohibit marijuana cultivation as well as smoking — but not vaporizing — when a lease specifically limits these activities. Those who violate a lease would be subject to sanctions, taking patient rights backwards to the days before the current law was passed in 2008. This bill would limit these rights without addressing fundamental problem in Michigan’s law — the lack of safe and regular access through state-legal provisioning centers and protections for non-smoked forms of the medicine.