By Dean Sines and Raoul Duke III
When it comes to medical marijuana in Georgia, it appears that the patients may be on the back burner.
When the Study Committee on Prescription Medical Cannabis for Serious Medical Conditions held their most recent Joint Study Committee Hearing in Augusta, Georgia on November 12, the topic of revenue and money making took the front seat in the discussion.
The message sent to those in attendance was that profit outweighed the lives saved by the medicinal properties of cannabis.
Sen. Renee Unterman continuously asked questions within the meeting that displayed a sense that profit trumped the lives that could be saved by this legislation.
The topics of safe access for patients and how many patients could benefit were ignored by the committee while questions about how the state could generate revenue from medical marijuana were at the forefront.
The seriousness of the committee on the topic of medicinal marijuana was shaken to the core as the committee assumed the role of research state.
The problem with the committee wanting to become the pioneers in the field of medical marijuana research is that there has been plenty of research already done in the field. One cannot be a pioneer if the landscape has already been explored and defined.
Furthermore, the committee's desire to contract GW Pharmaceuticals to grow and manufacture the CBD oil for research studies in the state is an affront on the legitimacy of their motives.
Combine the desire to involve this corporate agenda with the fact that the committee is only wanting 250-300 participants for said studies allows even the lay person to understand that these hearings are a farce.
How can the committee admit that 93,000 Georgians could possibly benefit from this medicine and then only allow 250-300 participants in their studies?
The logic is lost on those who have championed the effort to reform marijuana laws, the American people, Georgians and the patients whose lives could be dramatically changed for the better by allowing its safe access and use.
The timeline that the committee set is also flawed in its basic assumption. The committee stated that they wanted the medical marijuana studies to start in 2016 and last for two to five years before they made their decision on whether or not Georgians could benefit from cannabis.
How many lives will be lost during this unneeded time span? How many children will succumb to their maladies before those in power deem this medicine appropriate?
The answer, even if it is one, is too many.
The constituents of Georgia need to ask themselves and their representatives whether they are attempting to save lives or simply cash in on the marijuana market.
We, the people, must take a stand to help educate those who are not aware of the benefits this plant can offer to our society as a whole. We must take a stand to stop our representatives from beating around the bush when the stakes are so high. We must make the changes that will lead to the repeal of marijuana prohibition.