Watered-down Medical Cannabis Bill Stalls in House Committee
The bill offers immunity for those who have obtained the oil from a state where it is legal to manufacture and sell the cannabis oil, but does not provide for in-state cultivation.
The revised bill covers a total of eighteen additional medical conditions that cannabis-derived medicine would help.
The proposed covered medical conditions include: cancer cases where patients suffer with severe or chronic pain, nausea, vomiting, or wasting syndrome from chemotherapy; glaucoma; acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS); amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) a/k/a Lou Gehrig’s Disease; seizure disorders; multiple sclerosis; crohn’s disease; mitochondrial disease; alzheimer’s disease; muscle spasticity disorder; fibromyalgia; parkinson’s disease; post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD); autism; sickle cell anemia; tourette syndrome; and terminal illness.
“There are thousands of Georgians that are suffering from other medical diagnoses that can benefit from having access to this oil,” Rep. Peake said
The broadening of medical disorders covered in HB 1, however, has the law enforcement community fearing a slippery slope toward legalization of marijuana.
Their fears include a slightly higher THC content of three percent for children to five percent for adults in the oil; driving under the influence of medical cannabis oil; and that the CBD oil could be cooked down to create hash oil with a high concentration of THC.
CBD oil works good with some seizure disorders, but other disorders need a higher level of THC, such as with autism in children.
Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter said that prosecuting attorney’s in Georgia supported last years bill with low THC in the CBD oil for children with seizures but can’t support the expansion to other medical conditions.
“I think the bill as written with the medical expansions will legalize liquid marijuana in Georgia,” Porter said.
Committee Members pushed back and said they wanted to deal with facts not fears. They felt that to provide relief for suffering Georgians outweighs the potential for abuse.
“I think we are ready to go down that slippery slope with approximately thirty thousand marijuana arrests in Georgia annually. If we medicalize cannabis, it will take a lot of people out of that criminal justice loop. People who are currently self-medicating and getting the product from the black market or growing it themselves. We want to treat cannabis more like wine than heroin,” James Bell, Georgia CARE Project, told Atlanta Progressive News.
“At what point does Georgia begin the debate about decriminalization or legalization? We are going to get there at some point,” Bell said.
If all options for getting cannabis oil to Georgia fail–given that in-state growing is not part of the bill–Rep. Peake has said may decide to commit civil disobedience by driving a truck to Colorado, pick up the oil, and driving it back to Georgia.
“This may be what it takes to show the lunacy of a federal law that says a person can be in possession of a legal product in Colorado and in Georgia, but gets arrested while driving through Kansas,” Rep. Peake said at an earlier press conference.
“The real solution to this problem is changes on the Congressional level for marijuana to be rescheduled from a Schedule One narcotic to another schedule,” Rep. Peake explained.
A vote on HB 1 has been tabled so that Committee Members can receive more information about scientific studies showing the medicinal benefits of cannabis.
“No vote today… but I sense the majority of the Committee are very supportive!” State Rep. Margaret Kaiser (D-Atlanta) said in a Facebook post.
“The vote on the cannibas [sic] bill has been delayed. The committee wants more empirical studies. Note I was ready to vote ‘yes.’ The arguments against were unpersuasive and, to be honest, a bit whiny,” State Rep. Dar’shun Kendrick (D-Lithonia) said in a separate post.