Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal has put the brakes on cultivation of cannabis for medicine. After much debate in the Georgia General Assembly and five hearings on the matter, Gov. Deal derailed house bill 1 that would have allowed for in-state cultivation.
Instead, Deal has forced the bill’s sponsor Rep. Allen Peake to draft what is being called an “immunity from prosecution” bill that would decriminalize certain forms of cannabis extracts for certain patients if they can smuggle the product into Georgia from other states. Instead of allowing in-state cultivation of marijuana in Georgia, Deal wants more studies, postponing the availability of the medicine for at least one more year.
Deal is also seeking to add $4 to $8 million of tax dollars to the 2015 budget to allow GW Pharmaceutical (GWP) to conduct vary limited trials on a few dozen patients in Georgia.
GWP has a product called Epidiolex, an extract of the cannabis plant called CBD or cannabidiol containing no THC, the compound that creates marijuana’s euphoric effect.
Many believe the move by governor Deal to stall the cultivation of cannabis was to give time for GWP time to finish clinical trials and get approval from the FDA, allowing them to market their product.
Critics are asking why are taxpayers being asked to fund trials for a company that is worth billions.
Patients who have obtained the legal products from other states are claiming benefit from the product. But what is not being said is that most of the patients, mostly children, are receiving a combination of CBD and THC and even whole plant medicine, not just CBD only.
Now a report from North Carolina claims that the enacted law is not working. This report should have Georgia lawmakers asking “why should we not allow in-state cultivation and whole plant therapy in Georgia?”.