Georgia lawmakers work to compromise on future of medicinal marijuana


AMERICUS, Ga. — Georgia lawmakers are working on a compromise when it comes to expanding the medical use of cannabis oil. It’s a growing issue in the state and nationwide. The General Assembly has a tough task ahead, as both the House and Senate make concessions in order for families in need to get the proper treatment.

Georgia lawmakers have a tough task in the current legislative session, as they work to compromise on new medicinal marijuana legislation.
Georgia lawmakers have a tough task in the current legislative session, as they work to compromise on new medicinal marijuana legislation.

A committee in the Georgia House is set to meet this week to weed out the good, the bad, and the ugly in HB65. The bill would add PTSD, HIV, AIDS, chronic pain, and autism as qualifying conditions to access medical cannabis oil.

State Sen. Greg Kirk (R – Americus) is working on a similar bill in the senate. Kirk says the senate is taking a more conservative stance on the issue of medicinal marijuana in any form. The senate’s version would add solely autism to the list of current qualifying conditions. Another point of compromise centers around lowering the legal concentration of cannabis, or THC oil, from 5% to 3%. Kirk underscored how experimental this piece of legislation would be.

“There’s not a whole lot of scientific evidence behind this,” Sen. Kirk said. “So we’ve reached out and gotten ahead of the FDA and others. And we don’t have a lot of scientific data to back up what we’re doing. That’s what makes this bill so difficult, and that’s why we’re taking such a cautious approach on the senate side.”

Sen. Kirk expects the senate bill to pass on the floor this week. Then it would go to the House for review. Of course, with potential expansion of medicinal marijuana also come questions about access. Sen. Kirk explained to News 3 that growing or manufacturing cannabis oil in the state of Georgia would have to be tabled for another discussion. However, he brought up an analogy involving a rash of pecan farm raids on Sumter County farms. He said, “imagine if those were farms growing marijuana.”

News 3 reached out to cannabis oil supporter Dale Jackson. Jackson has a son who has frequent seizures. The Jackson family uses THC oil to treat the boy. Jackson says he and other stakeholders will continue to push until evolutionary legislation passes.

While the families at the capitol are willing to work with the Senate in relation to SB16, the THC limit must be returned to 5% before it is something we can support. We are confident that when it is all said and done, this will be the case. We will continue to put our full support behind Allen Peake and HB65 as it goes before the full committee this week and hopefully to the house for a vote next week.

– Dale Jackson, advocate for medicinal marijuana

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