published Thursday, March 20th, 2014

Medical marijuana bill stalls in Georgia Legislature

  • photo
    State Rep. Allen Peake, R-Macon, left, speaks with House Speaker David Ralston as Peake's bill that would legalize medical marijuana in Georgia for patients with certain illnesses is debated on the House floor, March 3, 2014, in Atlanta. The House voted 171-4 on Monday to approve the proposal ahead of an important legislative deadline.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

ATLANTA — A plan to create a medical marijuana program in Georgia has hit a political roadblock.

The state Senate voted 54-0 on Thursday to allow people suffering from the side effects of cancer, glaucoma or seizures to take oil derived from cannabis in the hope it will ease their symptoms. House lawmakers already voted overwhelmingly in support of the plan.

However, the Senate attached to the bill a requirement that insurance companies cover behavioral therapy for Georgia children 6 and under who have been diagnosed with autism. That's a nonstarter for senior House Republicans who are concerned about costs.

State Sen. Renee Unterman says she expected the differences to be resolved in a conference committee later Thursday.

Any bill that does not pass by midnight Thursday fails for the year.

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