Watered-down Medical Cannabis Bill Stalls in House Committee
(APN) ATLANTA — At the House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee Hearing on Tuesday, February 03, 2015, State Rep. Allen Peake (R-Macon) introduced HB 1, a revised version of last year Haleigh’s Hope.
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.
Your Legislature is rife with fascists — rid yourself of them!
Marijuana was outlawed for two major reasons. The first was because “All Mexicans are crazy and marijuana is what makes them crazy. The second was the fear that heroin addiction would lead to the use of marijuana – exactly the opposite of the modern “gateway” nonsense.
Only one MD testified at the hearings for the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937. The representative of the American Medical Association said there was no evidence that marijuana was a dangerous drug and no reason for the law. He pointed out that it was used in hundreds of common medicines at the time, with no significant problems. In response, the committee told him that, if he wasn’t going to cooperate, he should shut up and leave.
The only other “expert” to testify was James C. Munch, a psychologist. His sole claim to fame was that he had injected marijuana directly into the brains of 300 dogs and two of them died. When they asked him what he concluded from this, he said he didn’t know what to conclude because he wasn’t a dog psychologist. Mr. Munch also testified in court, under oath, that marijuana could make your fangs grow six inches long and drip with blood. He also said that, when he tried it, it turned him into a bat. He then described how he flew around the room for two hours.
Mr. Munch was the only “expert” in the US who thought marijuana should be illegal, so they appointed him US Official Expert on marijuana, where he served and guided policy for 25 years.
If you read the transcripts of the hearings, one question is asked more than any other: “What is this stuff?” It is quite apparent that Congress didn’t even know what they were voting on. The law was shoved through by a small group of lunatics with no real awareness by anyone else of what was happening.
References for all the above can be found with a search for “Historical Research on Drug Policy”
The question of what to do about drugs is not a new one. Over the last 100 years there have been numerous major government commissions around the world that have studied the drug laws and made recommendations for changes. You can find the full text of all of them under Major Studies of Drugs and Drug Policy.
They all reached remarkably similar conclusions, no matter who did them, or where, or when, or why. They all agreed that the current laws were based on ignorance and nonsense, and that the current policy does more harm than good, no matter what you assume about the dangers of drugs. You don’t have to take my word for that. Read them yourself.
If you are new to the collection, start with Licit and Illicit Drugs That is the best overall review of the drug problem ever written. If you only read one book on the subject, make it that one. It will give you a good summary of what you would learn if you read all the other major reports.
In 1973, President Nixon’s US National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse completed the largest study of the drug laws ever done. At the end of their study, they said the real drug problem was not marijuana, or heroin, or cocaine. The real drug problem, they said, was the ignorance of our public officials who keep spouting off with solutions but have never read the most basic research on the subject.
In a perfect illustration of their point, Nixon refused to read his own commission’s report. The full text can be found online
Their only argument is that the bill goes too far by allowing people other than children access to cannabis oil. What twisted, assholish logic is this? This proves 100% that the only thing police commanders and prosecutors fear is losing a piece of the bounty that is created as a result of prosecuting an immoral war on drugs.
This ultra restrictive bill is such a sham. So many families with loved ones that are suffering would be required to become drug smugglers in order to obtain the oil (out of state). Ladies and gentleman, our government is failing us with ridiculous amounts of wasted tax dollars – your dollars! Our elected public servants seem to be living up to their approval rating, and not considering that restrictions on this law effectively would cost lives. Lets take a step back, and fact check. The reported opponents to this bill (please make a note of them – BARRY FLEMMING / BARBARA SIMS / JESSE STONE / EARNEST G. SMITH) are blocking access to a benign plant oil. Colorado has proven that with taxing, and regulation a huge revenue of tax dollars is flooding the state. Matter of fact they collected so much taxes from recreational marijuana unless they change state law Colorado residents are entitled to state issued refunds due to the excess taxes the plant has generated.
Opponents of recreational cannabis said teen use would go up – it didn’t.
Opponents said legal cannabis will create additional dangers on the road – A federal study just showed that it doesn’t.
Flawed studies showed that it lowers your IQ – They failed to take into account alcohol use in the extremely small sample group. A new study tried to replicate the results with a larger test group correcting for alcohol use – Brain morphology isn’t changed by cannabis use. http://www.jneurosci.org/content/35/4/1505.short
Opponents say oil can be abused by creating a concentrate – Let’s be honest – ANYTHING can be abused. People who use cannabis are going to use cannabis. Stopping those who truly need this medicine from having it SHOULD BE A CRIME!
Let’s also implement responsible, logical public polices with cannabis, such as taxing and regulation which works. Hanging on to the reefer madness mentality simply backs the failed drug war, and overpopulates for-profit prisons while ruining future careers for young adults. Anyone supporting this failed policy is either uneducated on the scientific facts, or has financial obligations to continue the insanity of repeating mistakes. It’s time for us all to take action by letting your representatives know how you feel. Post on their Facebook page, contact their office, support http://www.norml.org so we can start saving lives with cannabis rather than taking them by letting politicians play politics with your money, and freedom.