State Sen. Josh McKoon (R-Columbus) Calls for Medical Marijuana Hearings


I did not think it would happen in my lifetime.  I thought Georgia would be one of the last states to consider medical cannabis (marijuana).  Maybe I was wrong.

Yesterday, January 07, 2014, Republican State Sen. Josh McKoon (R-Columbus) called for hearings on medical marijuana.  No hearings as of yet have been scheduled, but we hope to learn more when the Legislative Session begins.

Sen. McKoon pointed to a 1980 Georgia law that allows medical marijuana to be used by people with cancer and glaucoma, as part of a research program.  It was signed into law by Gov. George Busbee, but has laid dormant for over thirty years.

James Bell, Director of the Georgia Campaign for Access, Reform & Education (Georgia CARE); and members of other groups have been meeting with State officials about the issue, seeking advice on how to proceed and offering information on the topic.

Cannabis has dominated national news lately, with Colorado taking in one million dollars the first day cannabis was sold legally in that state on January 01, 2014.  It’s becoming the hottest topic in the U.S.   You can’t turn on the television with seeing documentaries, news stories, and TV personalities talking about it.

“We need to find the facts about medical marijuana and put it in front of legislators, so they can make decisions on facts not scare tacks, fears, misinformation, and emotions,” Bell told Atlanta Progressive News.

APN’s decision to ask political candidates about their positions on medical cannabis over the last several years provided activists with a key resource that they have used to their advantage.

“APN did a story a few years ago, and listed some legislators who were interested in medical marijuana.  I actually took your list and started with that.  Now we have a hot list of fifteen legislators who have shown interest in studying medical marijuana,” Bell said.

“We have support from people who are on the right, left and middle.  It affects so many people with medical and criminal justice issues,” Bell said.

Georgia CARE and other reform organizations are preparing to make their presence known at the State Capitol and are planning the Second Annual Cannabis Awareness Day at the Gold Dome.

Peachtree NORML and others are having meetings the first Tuesday of every month at Manuel’s Tavern, at 7ppm, to legalize medical cannabis.  Their first meeting was during the recent Arctic Plunge with temperatures around zero degrees and a wind chill of -15 degrees in Atlanta.

I didn’t go because of the bitterly cold weather and thought it was probably cancelled.   To my surprise, Bell told me that over forty people from across the state attended.  That’s what I call hard core dedicated activists.  They plan to reserve a larger room for the next meeting.

Georgia CARE has been conducting a poll of Georgia voters views on medical marijuana.   The results of that poll are expected soon.

According to national opinion polls medical marijuana legalization has grown to be a popular issue. Twenty states and the District of Columbia have enacted medical marijuana laws and many others states are now considering it.

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