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Push for legalization of medical marijuana gaining support

Brenda Camp Yarbrough | 1/24/2014, 6:48 a.m.
The family of 12-year-old Victoria Elizabeth Williams and others across Georgia are pushing for the legalization of medical marijuana to ...
Victoria Elizabeth Williams, 12, shown with Choco, suffers from chronic seizures. Her mother is among proponents of legalizing medical marijuana.

The family of 12-year-old Victoria Elizabeth Williams and others across Georgia are pushing for the legalization of medical marijuana to treat severe seizure disorders and other illnesses in children.

The movement is gaining support, and Georgia House Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge) says he’s open to the idea of legalizing medical marijuana.

State Sen. Joshua McKoon (R-Columbus) has proposed the creation of a study committee so that the medical community and proponents as well as lawmakers can weigh in on the issue.

Both legislators are attorneys.

Victoria, who has mitochondrial disease, has suffered from chronic seizures since 2002. Students at Loganville Middle School, the city of Clarkston, CrossRoadsNews readers, and visitors and fans of Victoria’s Facebook page are among donors who helped the family raise funding for her service dog, Choco, her constant companion.

The family has used medications, diet and other therapies to control Victoria’s seizures and none has worked.

Her mother, Clarkston Police Officer Corey Lowe Williams, known as Officer Lowe, is a proponent of legalization of medical marijuana, but she is not sure if it will help Victoria.

“My desire is to reach out and educate people that kids are not getting high,” Lowe said. “This is an oil that is placed in their food. We need doctors and our pastors on board.”

Lowe said it looks like Georgia advocates have lots of support from the House leader.

Some Georgia families are pulling up stakes and relocating to Colorado and other states where their children can receive the cannabis oil.

So far, 20 states and the District of Columbia allow medical marijuana.

McKoon’s Senate Resolution 756 seeks to create the Senate Prescription of Medicinal Marijuana for Serious Medical Conditions Study Committee to determine whether it would be appropriate to enact a new law or change current law for prescriptive use.

The resolution says that there has been “significant scientific and medical studies, reports, clinical trials, and other analyses regarding the use of marijuana for prescriptive medicinal purposes.” It states technology “has significantly advanced and produced certain control methods and scientific guarantees regarding medicinal uses that have not previously existed.”

It also says that there are “indicia that such use may be beneficial for the parents and treating physicians of children with serious medical needs.”

Americans for Safe Access, which has an action group in Georgia, and Americans for Safe Access Foundation are working to ensure safe and legal access to marijuana for therapeutic uses and research. ASA works with a grass-roots base of more than 50,000 members to bring about change using public education and direct advocacy at the local, state, and federal level.

The foundation trains and educates patients, advocates, health care professionals and other stakeholders and also provides direct legal support.

The ASA Georgia Action Group has a focus on pediatric uses of medical cannabis. For more information, contact Aaron Klepinger at aklepinger.asa@gmail.com or visit safeaccessnow.org.

For more information on the Georgia movement for legalization, visit the Paws for a Princess page at www.facebook.com/pages

/Paws-for-a-­Princess/209884319028630.