GA Senate passes Rep. Peake's medical marijuana bill

ATLANTA-- The state Senate cleared the way for what may be a final vote Wednesday on medical marijuana.

The Senate overwhelmingly agreed to a compromise bill Tuesday. The bill that would allow cannabis oil for children and adults suffering from eight different conditions - from cancer to epilepsy. A different version of it passed the House weeks ago, and House backers like this version's chances Tuesday.

Backers of the bill embracing outside the senate chamber had just seen the biggest moment in the two year history of the medical marijuana effort – a bill that backers say could ease the symptoms of countless patients of harrowing diseases.

"Our daughter Elena is on five medications and I hope we can get her off of some of those medications," said Shannon Cloud, who has a daughter with epilepsy. "If cannabis oil works for her, she can wake up and be a completely different child when she's not addicted and high on the medications she's on now."

On the floor of the Senate, the bill's backers far outnumbered its skeptics. "We've lost lives in the last year, children with seizures who could not hold on any longer," said Sen. Nan Orrock (D-Atlanta).

But one opponent argued that medical marijuana could lead to dangerous behavior from those seeking to abuse it. "The cooking and extraction of these products has caused many fires and explosions – four in Aurora Colorado alone. It's the wild west right now," said Sen. Chuck Hufstetler (R-Rome).

But the bill survived easily. And the bill's sponsor in the House says he's hopeful the drama will end Wednesday.

"This is a great day," said Rep. Allen Peake (R-Macon). "I'm excited as can be for these families."

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