Sen. Curt Thompson Will Keep Pushing Medical Cannabis Bill
(APN) ATLANTA — Today, Monday, January 26, 2015, State Rep. Allen Peake (R-Macon) is formally introducing language to replace the original, placeholder language of HB 1, to provide immunity for individuals with CBD oil, but not allow for in-state growing.
However, State Sen. Curt Thompson (D-Tucker) tells Atlanta Progressive News that he will keep pushing his medical cannabis bill, SB 7, which does provide for in-state production and dispensaries.
SEN. THOMPSON VOWS TO PUSH FORWARD
“I’m still gonna push it. Nothing’s over til it’s over. The Governor’s against the concept. We don’t declare defeat on the second or third day of the session,” Thompson told APN.
“With something like this – we were the 50th state to have a domestic violence statute. Same with Sunday [alcohol] sales, we were the 49th state. So you just keep pushing,” Thompson said.
“If you do get something passed this year and it’s not exactly what you want, you push again next time,” Thompson said.
When asked if there is support in the State Senate among his colleagues, Thompson said, “There’s some… privately there’s support.”
“The issue is, when you’re in… the same party of the Governor, and the Governor asks you to do something different, there’s a different kind of pressure,” Thompson said.
“Even I don’t think realistically think I will get everything I want, but you have to ask for everything you want to get some of it,” he said.
“The goal this Session will be how far we can get to that goal. This is a football game that never ends,” he said.
Thompson criticized the proposed solution of immunity without in-state access, noting that parents of sick children who need CBD oil will pay “more money on the travel costs, than the costs of the medicine itself.”
Immunity “does not solve the problem. You’re basically telling people, if you can go to Colorado, and violate Colorado laws and leave the states with it,” then it’s okay, Thompson said.
“If you carry it across state line, that’s a federal crime,” he said, noting that the federal government has said–and no longer has funding authorized to–interfere with state medical programs, but that not all states have such programs. Georgia and many of its neighbors do not.
“For someone leaving Colorado to come to Georgia, is basically… you have to have the cojones. How many laws are you violating on the way back?” Thompson said.
Thompson said flying back from Colorado might work “if you make it here and don’t get profiled in the airport, meaning you look like me,” Thompson, who is White, said.
Thompson also noted that for many sick Georgians CBD is not the right treatment, and that for some, the edible form is not the right form for the medicine.
“Wasting disease – they need the higher THC content, it’s also the THC apparently that calms nausea. If you get into the science of this, and you have a traditional form of adult epilepsy, MS or Parkinson’s… you’re using a vaporizer,” he said.
APN asked about Gov. Deal’s stated concerns regarding the lack of infrastructure in Georgia to support a medical program in Georgia.
“Those are legitimate concerns. It’s not legitimate to say, we can’t do it til we study it for years. There are other states that do it. There absolutely has to be security issues taken into account – this has been done in other states. The model in my statute comes from Arizona,” Thompson said, pointing out that Arizona is a red state.
“I picked Arizona because it is a red state, has full plant medicinal marijuana and has the growers. Typically it’s done hydroponically in a closed building,” he said.
“There are different state models, don’t get me wrong, but the essentials of it, there are limited licenses, only certain people can grow it, you have to go through a whole background process,” Thompson said.
“You’re waiving your Fourth Amendment rights to have the place searched to make sure the plants are there and are tagged,” Thompson said of other states’ medical cannabis in-state growing programs.
Thompson said that in-state growing was discussed “at length” during the 2014 study committee hearings, as covered by APN.
“I do think it’s possible, you do not need another study group. It’s not something you need a commission for, it’s fairly common sense stuff,” he said.