Julianne Thompson, a Georgia-based Tea Party leader, announced support HB 885, a measure that would authorize the use of medical marijuana for research purposes.
“Originally I was shocked and frightened of the mention of any type of marijuana in Georgia. I am both a fiscal and a social conservative and have always been and remain opposed to any legalization of recreational drug use of any kind,” said Thompson in a statement. “The story of Haleigh Cox and countless other children like her are the reason I left behind my preconceived notions when it came to the word ‘Cannibas’ and actually looked at the effectiveness of the treatment behind the proposal.”
“The parents of these children will tell you they are not receiving effective treatment. They rarely get to even see their child’s personality or even a smile, because they are so heavily drugged with multiple, ineffective pharmaceuticals that do nothing to alleviate symptoms and sometimes cause more harm than good,” she said, pointing to an unnamed study which found that the “side effects from legal pharmaceuticals as the third leading cause of death in the U.S.”
Thompson is the co-chair of the Atlanta Tea Party, one of the grassroots groups that came about in 2009. The month of two says that she’s glad that she doesn’t have to make the same sort of decisions that the parents of Haleigh Cox and others have to make. But she cited a family member’s struggle with cancer as part of her evolution on medical marijuana.
“In July 2012, my sister died, not of the actual cancer she was diagnosed with, but from the side effects the chemo had perpetrated on her body,” said Thompson. “At that point I knew there had to be a better way to treat disease, a way that does not violate that we must first do no harm, and while we still search for cures and treatments for diseases that plague mankind, let us remember that the Bible says God gave us the leaf for medicine.”
“This oil-based treatment made from medical Cannibas is helping children across the country to be able to live a more normal life, helping them smile again. How can we deny Georgia children the right to safe and effective treatment,” she said. “Please join me in support of HB 885, and tell Georgia families they have hope!”
HB 885, dubbed “Haleigh’s Hope Act,” is currently in the House Health and Human Services Committee. Recent polls have found that anywhere from 51% to 54% of Georgia voters back medical marijuana. Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta expressed support for legislation that would allow further research of the benefits of cannabis oil.
[UPDATE] Though not included in the statement, Thompson has let us know that Kay Godwin also supports Haleigh’s Hope Act.