Cannabis oil clinical trial could cost Georgia $8 million

By Homer Scarborough from the Checkerboard Gang

Hold on! A few questions first, if you don’t mind:

1. Is a clinical trial going to be legally required in the proposed bill prior to the use of marijuana derivatives by those that need it?

2. Hasn’t there been enough “real world” experience in successfully administering the drug to know that the drug is safe and very effective in many many cases, and, importantly, unlike many alternative more mainstream drugs, has little or no adverse side effects?

3. Was there a clinical trial provided for under the bill that failed to pass in the last session of the legislature?

4. Politically, is the clinical trial going to be required to get the derivative approved for use in Georgia through the General Assembly and signed by Governor Deal?

5. Have any members of the General Assembly gone on record as being opposed to any version of the proposed bill regardless of any evidence that it is effective unless there are clinical trials first?

5b Would successful clinical trials be enough to satisfy these potentially objecting members of the General Assembly so that they are willing to go on record as supporting some form of the bill?

6. Who is pushing for the clinical trials and the delay of legal use of the treatment until after the formal clinical trials? Drug companies (who will lose money if the bill is approved)? Physicians? Law enforcement organizations?

7. Why should Georgia pick up the $8 million dollar bill for the clinical trial of a single drug, Epidiolex, a purified form of cannabidiol, one of the main active compounds in marijuana, and manufactured by a single private company, GW Pharmaceuticals? This drug has only a very small amount of THC, the psychoactive part of marijuana.

7b. Would not successful trials of Epidiolex make potentially hundreds of millions for GW Pharmaceuticals, a private company?

7c. Why should the Georgia taxpayer pay for a private company’s R&D? Obviously the successful results of any clinical trials will be used by the company in their marketing of their product all over the world. (Note also that adding varying amounts of THC added to the treatment increases, usually in most cases, the effectiveness of the cannabis oil and, to our knowledge, this drug does not provide that possible variation.) Let GW Pharmaceuticals pay for their own research and clinical trials.

To the members of the General Assembly: Please don’t make this idea of clinical trials just another political issue with winners and losers where private industry is the big winner and the taxpayers and those who need the treatments are the losers. This movement involves the welfare and treatment of children (and adults). All of these people know that the proposed bill providing for relief from medical marijuana will help, and they could care less about any clinical trials of “Epidiolex,” a GW Pharmaceuticals product (who stands to make hundreds of millions on our dollar, if we agree to finance the trials). Make this an everybody is a winner issue, and

DON’T LET THIS BE A DISTRACTION.

The self-serving forces who are fighting the proposed effort to legalize the use of medical marijuana (although subtlety, ever so subtlety) have had almost a year since the bill was first introduced in the last General Assembly to align their arguments and allies against this bill and any change in the law. They may have been caught “flat-footed” the last time, but that will not be true this time. Beware….

We fully support State Representative Allen Peake in his effort to get this train on down the track with maximum speed. There are people that are suffering. Let’s give them the relief that they seek, and let’s do it right here in Georgia.

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