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Georgia: Haleigh’s Hope Act

Georgia: Haleigh’s Hope Act

By Zachary Babin - December 9, 2015

Associated Press

The Macon Telegraph on new medical marijuana law:

In the last legislative session lawmakers approved and Gov. Nathan Deal signed House Bill 1. It was dubbed Haleigh’s Hope Act. The bill’s sponsor, Macon Rep. Allen Peake, saw two years of work finally see the governor’s pen. People who suffer from eight conditions could now possess up to 20 ounces of cannabis oil derived from marijuana, but not before jumping through a few hoops, such as registering with the Georgia Department of Public Health. The bill also opened the door for clinical trials to study the effectiveness of the drug. Deal also appointed a committee to come up with policy recommendations regarding medical marijuana. That report should land on Deal’s desk soon.

However, there’s a snag. Marijuana can’t be legally grown in Georgia. People still have to travel to one of the several states where the drug is legal so they can acquire it, or those companies must take a risk of running afoul of federal law to ship it across state lines. Individuals face the same legal roadblock.

Deal stated last week that he was against allowing marijuana for medical purposes to be grown in the state. He said, “I still don’t think we have sufficient information or ability to control something of that nature if we start production and processing here in our state.”

We hate to inform the governor, but that horse has already left the barn. The ability to control the cultivation and sale of marijuana in Georgia disappeared long ago. What the committee will recommend is a tightly controlled authorization process to a handful of growers similar to the system used in other states such as Minnesota.

Georgia is home to several pharmaceutical and biotech companies dealing in much stronger substances than cannabidiol. Our state’s pharmacies have stockpiles of everything from oxycodone to hydrocodone. Those authorized to grow and produce the medicinal oil would be crazy to send their investment up in smoke.

It is hoped the governor will see the logic of the committee’s argument and allow not only the families who had to flee for life-saving treatment to return but also to finally discard the criminal label they’ve had to carry as well.

Associated Press