A campaign led by a group of Georgia parents to legalize medical marijuana has quickly turned to action on the part of concerned lawmakers, who might have a bill ready as early as this week.
Rep. Micah Gravley (Republican-Paulding County) went from unqualified refusal to consider medical marijuana to co-sponsoring the bill to legalize it.
"I have had a 180-degree change because I've seen how it can impact these kids and how it can impact these families who are now separated because one's here in Georgia, the other one's in Colorado," Gravley told WSB-TV.
The parents of 10-year-old Caden Clark are living on opposite sides of the country for the sake of finding adequate treatment for their son, who suffers from a severe seizure disorder. Kids like Caden have seen remarkable improvements for a low-concentration form of cannabis oil, without the dangerous side effects of pharmaceuticals.
But because medical marijuana is illegal in Georgia, Caden’s mom Kim had to move her son out to Colorado, where marijuana is legal and accessible. Her husband must remain in Atlanta, where he works as a police officer.
"I think these families, like all families are looking for a moment of calm with their kids… that's what we're trying to do here is give these families the same things that a lot of time we take for granted,” Gravley told WSB reporter Lori Geary.
Georgia parents have come together to petition the Georgia state legislature to legalize medical marijuana for the sake of their ailing children, many of whom can barely function due to debilitating and near-constant seizures.
Those pleas touched another Georgia politician, State Rep. Allen Peake (R-Macon), who told WMAZ that he was open to legalizing medical marijuana and wants to add seizures to the treatment list.
"If it was my child, my grandchild, and this was the only remedy to be able to deal with a medical issue, I'd be pushing it as hard as I could," Peake said. "So I think there's a good, it's worth a good effort, to look at it, but let me be clear, there is no interest in legalizing marijuana for normal purposes here in our state."
Some groups, like the Georgia Christian Coalition, oppose the legalization measure. The group’s president, Jerry LaGuire, said that legislative support for it amounts to a conspiracy to break federal law.