State Rep. Allen Peake, R-Macon, who authored the original law, sponsored HR 36. It would put the question to voters on the 2018 ballot of whether to allow growing and distributing the drug in Georgia for medicinal purposes only. It faces a high bar for passage: Because it is written in the form of a constitutional amendment, it needs two-thirds approval in each the House and Senate.
Peake also filed a related piece of legislation, House Bill 65, which would expand the list of eligible illnesses for medical marijuana to include AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease, autism, intractable pain, post-traumatic stress disorder, and Tourette’s syndrome.
The filings come the same day the Senate introduced a much less aggressive medical marijuana expansion. Senate Bill 16 would back limited expansion of the law — adding only autism to the list of eligible illnesses — only if there's a rollback of the allowable THC level in the cannabis oil now allowed here.
THC is the component in the drug that makes people high. The law allows the possession of cannabis oil with up to 5 percent THC. SB 16 would reduce that maximum to 3 percent.
A poll done earlier this month by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution showed widespread support for allowing growers to harvest and distribute medical marijuana in-state, although there was not support to allow the drug's recreational use.