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Deal backs cannabis effort
Forsyth family involved in push to help children
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Forsyth County News

A Forsyth County mom is “cautiously excited” about new measures that Gov. Nathan Deal is supporting regarding the use of cannabis oil for epileptic disorders.

“This is obviously something we’re going to watch,” said Kristi Baggarly, whose 3-year-old daughter may benefit from use of the oil. “I know with 100 percent certainty that [Gov. Deal] has spoken to the FDA and has been reaching out and making plans for this to happen, and to me that’s huge.” On Thursday, Deal’s office issued a statement noting that the governor has consulted with the federal Food and Drug Administration on how the state can begin legal clinical trials with cannabis oil products at Georgia egents University Augusta, formerly known as the Medical College of Georgia.

Baggarly’s middle child, Kendle, 3, suffers from intractable seizures which may be helped by cannabis oil.
The family watched with much interest as House Bill 885 weaved its way through the 2014 Georgia General Assembly, before finally being defeated.  Authored by District 141 state Rep. Allen Peake, the bill focused on the use of cannabis oil, which comes from the marijuana plant, for patients like Kendle, who suffer from extreme forms of epilepsy.

While the bill failed, Baggarly is hopeful that Deal’s recently announced efforts might help it pass during next year’s session or bring about some other change to allow the use of the oil for patients like her daughter.  According to the release, Deal said “the most promising solution involves pairing GRU with a private pharmaceutical company that has developed a purified liquid cannabinoid currently in the FDA testing phase.”  The university could create trials for children with epileptic disorders.

“We have talked with the pharmaceutical company to gauge interest,” Deal said in the statement. “And the company is willing to continue those initial talks.” The release also noted that GRU could also potentially pursue trials that use oil obtained from cannabis grown by the National Institute on Drug Abuse at its farm at the University of Mississippi.  That option would take longer, however, as researchers would have to work through an approval process with the FDA. “We do not see these options as mutually exclusive,” Deal said, in the statement. “And we’re looking to move forward on both options at this time.”

That’s good news for the Baggerly family, which includes husband Wade and their two other daughters, 5-year-old Annie Lynn and 4-month-old Kimber, and other families in Georgia with children who suffer this condition.
“I don’t know of any other state in the nation that has the governor reaching out to the FDA and trying to get this for their state,” Kristi Baggerly said. “I think that has potential to be huge not only for Georgia, but nationally. If the deep South, Georgia, the Bible Belt, is saying they’re ready for change at the executive level, I think that speaks volumes to the federal level that it’s time to reschedule marijuana and be able to study it.”