Final session of the Georgia Medical Cannabis Study Committee 2014 held December 3

By Homer Scarborough from the Checkerboard Gang

The joint Medical Cannabis Study Committee had its last hearing before the 2015 legislative session at the State Capitol today. Republican State Representative Allen Peake said today that while smoking marijuana might serve some medical purpose, he would personally oppose such a movement, saying that Georgia is not ready for that. Representative Peake has already pre-filed HB1, “Haleigh’s Hope Act,” dealing with the legalization of cannabis oil, which we have already reported on and said that we supported, although we wish it was broader in scope.

State Senator Curt Thompson pre-filed SB7, which provides for the legalization of medical marijuana in all forms, such as smoking or edible forms, as well as the cannabis oil provided for under HB1. Both the House and the Senate bills provide for heavy regulation by the state. Senator Thompson is also expected to introduce a resolution in the State Senate calling for a state-wide referendum on the legalization of marijuana for recreational, as well as medical use. Obviously realizing that an adoption of such a resolution will be a steep hill to climb, he has said that he still feels that it should be on the table for discussion.

Bibb Representative Peake must be considered the father of the movement for the legalization of medical marijuana treatment in Georgia, specifically advocating the use of cannabis oil, a marijuana derivative, in Georgia. He is the author of the pre-filed HB1, which provides for such treatment in Georgia and it is expected to be formally introduced in the Georgia House by Peake in the opening days of the General Assembly. A similar bill that he authored passed the House and the Senate in the last session of the legislature but died in conference committee before agreement on a compromise bill could be reached and accepted by both houses before the end of the 2014 session. As a result of this failure to pass, many children and adults have suffered and will continue to suffer until something is passed by our legislature and signed by the Governor.

I’ll will be watching the progress of these bills, as well as any additional bills that might be introduced in the upcoming session. I do, along with tens of thousands of others in Georgia, support the legalization of medical marijuana in Georgia in all useful forms, smoking, edible or cannabis oil derivatives, but I am not yet ready to support extending the use of legal marijuana in Georgia for recreational use, although there is evidence that marijuana use is much less harmful to society as a whole than is alcohol and the smoking of tobacco.  Despite claims to the contrary, it has not be shown by credible evidence that the ingestion of marijuana through smoking or other means does not lead to more dangerous drugs, therefor countering the argument by some that it is a “gateway” drug.
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