Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRW) --- The debate is heating up and so is the urgency for Georgia families hoping cannabis oil will help treat a range of medical problems.
In a story you'll only see on 12, we meet the newest and smallest face of the movement. Itzel Soto is just over a year old and this afternoon she became the second patient at Georgia Regents University to start cannabis oil treatments.
The Soto family's youngest member has brought them surprises from the very beginning.
"I thought it was a kidney stone! So we were going to the hospital for kidney stones." Itzel's Mom, Janie Soto said.
It turns out, she was pregnant, but the exciting surprise quickly took a turn.
"She stopped moving inside me and i was on bed rest in the hospital." Soto said.
Doctors realized soon after baby Itzel was born a little over a year ago that she had a severe seizure disorder. Her mother tells 12 she gets about 20 seizures an hour.
The disorder means a life of wires and machinery helping Itzel's little body function as she suffers through seizures 24 hours a day.
"Our fears of too many seizures would be losing Itzel." Soto said.
Itzel's parents are hoping this cannabis oil treatment is the answer, if not for a complete transformation, at least for a chance at life.
"For a better day. That's our hope. For a better day from all the ones she's not had." Soto said.
Other children suffering with similar seizure disorders may have to wait longer to get the medicine. The controversial medical marijuana bill is still tied up in committee. The bill had expanded cannabis oil treatments to about 17 different diagnoses.
Some lawmakers are saying that's too much too fast. But for families living with the daily effects approval can't happen soon enough.
"Walk in our shoes one day. Walk in our shoes, we are all not perfect and maybe one day it will happen to you. Why wait until it's one of y'all" Soto said.
News 12 spoke with the author of the bill today who says he expects the committee to narrow the bill back down to about 7 different diagnoses for cancer treatment, epileptic disorders, maybe multiple sclerosis, and a few others then send it to a vote next week.
We reached out to the representatives in our area and there is a lot of disagreement.
Representatives Gloria Frazier, Wayne Howard, Senator Harold Jones and Brian Prince tell us they would vote yes.
Representatives earnest Smith, Barry Fleming, Barbara Sims and Senator Jesse Stone would vote yes if the definition only allowed cannabis oil for a couple of medical conditions.
Representative Ben Harbin was tied up in meetings and couldn't comment.