ATLANTA (WSB-TV) — Channel 2 Action News has learned state lawmakers supporting medical marijuana could have a bill ready to go as early as this week that would makemedical marijuana legal in Georgia.
Channel 2's Lori Geary began reporting the issue weeks ago and talked to an unlikely co-sponsor of the bill, state Rep. Micah Gravley, a Republican from Paulding County.
He says when he was first asked about the issue he flat out refused, telling supporters of the issue he's a conservative, Christian Republican.
Then he says the parents of 10-year-old Caden Clark reached out to him, "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."
Caden's mom, Kim Clark, moved her son out to Colorado and has him on a waiting list for medical marijuana, where it's legal. Caden suffers from a severe seizure disorder.
The parents of children with similar disorders in Colorado say they're seeing amazing results from the cannabis oil, which is given oftentimes under the tongue or through a feeding tube.
Kim told Geary her husband is an Atlanta police officer who can't move because he'll lose his health benefits, so the family is now living apart.
Clark says Caden has been on 17 different anti-epileptic drugs and even had part of his brain removed to try and stop the seizures. Doctors in Georgia told her they were out of options.
Tuesday, Gov. Nathan Deal said he's not taking a stance on the issue but said, "I think there's a strong case being presented by some of the families in some serious situations involving their children."
A group called CARE, or the Campaign for Access, Reform and Education delivered 15,000 signatures in a petition drive for the legalization of medical marijuana. They say medical and recreational usage are separate issues.
Gravley told Geary, "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."
Still, the Christian Coalition remains firmly against any state law on medical marijuana.
The president of the group, Jerry LaGuire, told Geary that marijuana, in any form, is considered a Class 1 substance by the federal government, one of the most dangerous drugs. He says federal law trumps state law. He accuses the lawmakers supporting the bill of a conspiracy to break federal law.
The U.S. Justice Department say it will not prosecute people who are acting under a strong state marijuana law.