Competing Marijuana Legalization Bills Show Georgia is in Play
Ask anyone who has grown up or spent any time in Georgia and they will tell you that this state will likely be one of the last to legalize marijuana. In a state that’s home to over 10,000 churches and a very conservative base, Georgia will never, ever make marijuana available for its citizens in any form.
Representative Allen Peake Introduces CBD Bill
On Monday, November 17, State Representative Allen Peake (R-Macon) showed up to the Gold Dome early in order to pre-file his medical marijuana legislation. Known as the Haleigh’s Hope Act, the bill received the coveted “House Bill 1” designation, showing a serious commitment by politicians to make medical marijuana available in some form to sick Georgians.
HB 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. HB1 is very similar to last year’s HB 885, which failed at the last minute due to political wrangling. 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.
House Bill 1, also known as the Haleigh’s Hope Act, will be formally introduced during the 2015 legislative session and would provide for the regulated use of medical cannabis to treat certain medical conditions. The bill would only allow for the use of non-smoking medical cannabis, in the form of liquid, pill, or injection, and the bill explicitly states that the intent is not to legalize the use of cannabis for recreational purposes. Under HB 1, only certain, registered patients would have access to the treatment, and it would only be dispensed by licensed, registered entities within the state. HB 1 would provide for a safe, effective, timely, tightly regulated, and secure infrastructure with strict state oversight for medical cannabis, which would contain a very low amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Additionally, the bill would decriminalize the possession of medical cannabis oil in Georgia for those patients who legally obtained the medicine in another state. Lastly, the bill states that the General Assembly would create a strict regulatory system around the medicine’s production that satisfies the recommendations of the U.S. Justice Department.
Sen. Curt Thompson Introduces Two Marijuana Bills
Competing with Rep. Peake’s House bill is Senate Bill 7, also known as the Controlled Substances Therapeutic Relief Act, which would make it legal for physicians in Georgia to recommend up to two ounces of medical marijuana for patients suffering from covered conditions. And while HB 1 will only allow miniscule amounts of THC, SB 7 sets no such restrictions.
Covered conditions under Senate Bill 7
When pre-filled, Senate Bill 7 included the following qualifying conditions in order to obtain medical marijuana in Georgia:
Cancer, glaucoma, HIV/Aids, Hepatitis C, ALS, Crohn’s Disease, agitation of Alzheimer’s disease, wasting (Cachexia), severe and chronic pain, severe nausea, seizures and Multiple Sclerosis.
“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 said in a press release.
In addition to Senate Bill 7, Sen. Thompson has also pre-filed Senate Resolution 6, which would add a Colorado-style amendment to the Georgia Constitution that would legalize and tax marijuana for adult recreational use. Though the chance of SR 6 passing the Georgia Senate is probably akin to what we around here call “slim to none”, Sen. Thompson admits the resolution is being introduced to “start a discussion” on the possible economic impact if Georgia were to legalize recreational marijuana. And the impact could be huge indeed if you consider the experience of states like Colorado, where the State is poised to provide a $30 million TAX REFUND to taxpayers due to an excess in marijuana tax revenue.
Taking a stand for Georgia
No matter the outcome of what is sure to be an interesting legislative session in 2015, Peachtree NORML will be there to take a stand with Georgians who are sick and tired of the failed, TRILLION-DOLLAR waste of money known as the War on Drugs. We stand poised to make a real difference in people’s lives in the upcoming session and we need your support. Here are some ways you can get involved right now:
- Become a member of Peachtree NORML
Our driving force is our core membership, which stretches from Tennessee to Florida. Peachtree NORML members meet regularly in order to organize, strategize and socialize. Join today!
- Make a donation
Peachtree NORML is a volunteer-led organization that depends on the generosity of our supporters to promote the message of cannabis law reform in Georgia. We are also designated as a not-for-profit organization and have filed paperwork to obtain 501(c)(3) status with the IRS. Donate here.
- Volunteer your time
As an all-volunteer organization Peachtree NORML could not function without the thousands of hours per year donated by our members and supporters. If you have a skill or service you think could be of benefit to the cause please let us know. Contact us to volunteer today.
- Share your anonymous marijuana testimonial
In order to make a change we have to show our lawmakers how cannabis prohibition negatively affects the lives of Georgians. We do this by showing them testimonials submitted by Georgia medical marijuana patients and others who are criminalized and marginalized by the failed drug war. Send us your testimonial.
- Become a Partner or Sponsor
Do you have cash or resources you or your business want to apply towards cannabis law reform in Georgia? Then you’re not alone. Check out our Partner’s page to see who else is supporting our cause.