A bit of fast legislative footwork on the part of Georgia Rep. Allen Peake has breathed new life into a bill that would expand the list of qualifying conditions for medical cannabis in the state.
Peake, a Republican from Macon, had sponsored a bill that would put autism, HIV or AIDS, and post-traumatic stress disorder on the list of conditions that give immunity for the possession of medical cannabis. The bill passed the Georgia House 152 to 8 last month, but it stalled in the Senate.
State Sen. Renee Unterman, who chairs the Health and Human Services committee, said the committee wouldn’t have time to hold a hearing on the bill before next week, when lawmakers convene in the Senate.
Rep. Peake was able to trash another bill that had already been approved by the Health and Human Services committee and replace it with another version of his own bill. The move allows the bill to be sent back to House for a floor vote and then directly to the Senate for approval without going to Unterman’s committee for approval.
“We live to fight another day,” said Rep. Peake. “This gives more citizens who have debilitating illness an option. The question becomes: ‘Why wouldn’t we do this?’”
It remains to be seen whether the bill will get voted on in the final 40 days of the legislative session, but Peake’s move at least gives the bill a fighting chance.
Rep. Peake had initially tried to pass legislation that would have let state-approved cannabis producers operate in the state, but push-back in the House and from Gov. Nathan Deal made the bill unviable.