A Georgia bill linking medical use of marijuana with insurance coverage for pediatric autism failed to win passage Thursday night as the legislative session wrapped up.
The House voted 168 to 2 to approve the limited use of medical marijuana for seizure patients sending the bill back to the Senate, says WGCL, but the bill was never brought to the floor for a vote as time ran out.
The state Senate had voted Thursday that Georgians should be allowed to possess a liquid medicine derived from cannabis that’s used to treat pediatric seizures, but only if the House would, in return, require insurance companies to provide coverage for pediatric autism, reports the Macon Telegraph.
"Everybody loses, not just the children with disabilities, not just the parents fighting for their own children. It costs all of us as more children suffer, and that is an insurmountable problem and you can not put a dollar amount on that," Melissa Soleris, the mother of a child with autism, told the TV station.
The House had pushed back against the same autism measures on fears that it’s too expensive a mandate for insurers.
State Rep. Allen Peake, R-Macon, sponsored
Haleigh’s Hope Act after learning of 4-year-old Haleigh Cox of Monroe County,
who suffers from epilepsy and endures as many as 100 seizures a day,
reports Georgia Public Radio.
For children like Haleigh, a marijuana derivative called cannabidiol (CBD) has significantly reduced the seizures. Parents have said CBD is the only treatment providing relief.
Peake said his bill would allow academic research institutions to grow the plant, not businesses or individuals.
The bill would have tasked the Georgia
Composite Medical Board with oversight of the use of marijuana derivatives in
an oil or pill form, for treatment of patients within an academic medical
center research setting, under the direction of a physician.
The only conditions approved for treatment would be seizure disorders, glaucoma, and nausea associated with cancer chemotherapy and radiation.