Many folks who have visited Georgia, or those who live there will tell you that conservative Georgia, a state with over 10,000 churches, will never allow its citizens to have access to marijuana, for any purpose and in any form whatsoever. Well, it seems they were wrong to be such pessimists because State Representative Allen Peake (R-Macon) has filed his medical marijuana bill. Also known as the Haleigh’s Hope Act, the bill received the coveted “House Bill 1” designation, which showed a serious commitment by politicians and an effort to make medical marijuana available in some form to sick citizens of Georgia.
Marijuana legalization is still a controversial subject
Change is on the horizon, that’s for sure, however it will not come easily. Until now, many patients have been affected in extremely negative ways with the current legislature. Some families with sick children had to move to Colorado in their quest for a treatment that helps, and are now hoping to return to their homes in Georgia. There has been word about the states that have legalized medical marijuana but have also went further to legalize recreational marijuana, which is something many medical marijuana advocates strongly oppose. They believe that equalizing these two only prolongs the actual demystification of medical benefits of cannabis. The bill would only allow for the use of non-smoking medical cannabis, in the form of liquid, pill, or injection. The bill emphasizes that the intent is not to legalize the use of cannabis for recreational purposes.
So because of all that, the “House Bill 1” will make legal medical marijuana extracts that are high in Cannabidiol (CBD) and low in Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) available for a select number of sick Georgians. “House Bill 1” is very similar to last year’s “House Bill 885”, which failed at the last minute due to political disputes. The difference is this year’s bill will list conditions other than epilepsy, such as cancer and glaucoma, despite the fact that most scientific research points to THC as the active ingredient in cannabis that can do the most good for these additional conditions.
Not one but two marijuana bills
Competing with “CBD bill” is “Senate Bill 7”, which aims to provide a legal framework for physicians in Georgia to recommend up to two ounces of medical marijuana for patients suffering from conditions covered within bill. And while the “CBD bill” will only allow extremely small amounts of THC, “Bill 7” sets no such restrictions. A Democratic state Senator is the one patients should be tankful for this, because not only has he pre-filed a much more comprehensive version of medical marijuana bill, he has also pre-filed a constitutional amendment that would legalize and regulate sales of cannabis, using the tax proceeds to fund education and transportation. “While I adamantly support cannabis oil treatments for children with severe medical problems, I believe physicians should have the ability to care for all of their patients, regardless of age,” Sen. Thompson, the man behind the competing bill, said in a press release. No matter the outcome, this will surely be an interesting legislative session in 2015.