According to James Bell, a lobbyist for marijuana law reform, the proposed legislation (HB-885) falls short in delivering quality, safe and legal access to cannabis. One component of the bill would give immunity from prosecution to anyone who smuggles cannabis extracts into Georgia. Bell claims the proposal encourages profiteers and patients to violate federal laws that could land someone in federal prison for ten years to life.
“HB-885 sets up yet another black market and jeopardizes the freedom of those seeking legal medicine”, Bell said. “We need to legalize cultivation of cannabis in Georgia. We need comprehensive legislation that removes cannabis from the criminal elements.”
Georgia CARE grudgingly supported HB-885 in hope that it would spark debate and culminate in a bill that would provide legal access. Instead, HB-885 is so restrictive that even sponsors say it may never get cannabis into the hands of patients.
Bell said after reading Senator Thompson’s 24 page bill (SB-432) he will focus his attention on the 2015 legislative session and begin to work toward a better bill that allows for legal cultivation, dispensing and doctors recommendations for cannabis use.
“Putting patients in criminal jeopardy is no solution to this issue. Lawmakers seem willing to entertain a broader, more comprehensive approach to cannabis therapeutics. We cannot look to states like Colorado for a solution and then turn a blind eye to a similar legislative model”, said Bell.
Georgia CARE Project advocates for marijuana law reform including decriminalization, medicalization and cultivation of industrial hemp. For more information visit www.gacareproject.com .
This is the report from 11 Alive News coverage of the events at the state capitol. The marijuana issue is dominating the legislative news.
Georgia Medical Patients Apply for Marijuana Research Program
Atlanta GA: Two medical patients from Atlanta have applied to the Georgia Composite Medical Board to participate in a Cannabis research program. “The Medical Marijuana Necessities Act” was establish by the Georgia General Assembly in 1980. Formerly called the “Controlled Substance Therapeutic Research Act”. The research program only covers cancer and glaucoma research. Georgia code O.C.G.A. 43-34-121
Patient #1 “David” has a history of colon cancer and was recently operated on to remove cancer from his lung and is currently undergoing chemotherapy. David approached Georgia CARE Project for assistance in the research program application.
Patient #2 “Julie” suffers from Glaucoma and has had an Ahmed Glaucoma Valve implanted that she says is not working to relive pressure in her eye. She is asking to participate in the marijuana research to see if she can save her eye sight.
Cannabis advocate James Bell, director of the Georgia CARE Project (Campaign for Access, Reform & Education), said they are waiting on a response from the medical board concerning the two requests.
“The program is a matter of law’ Bell said. “Patients who can benefit from a natural medicine should be able to have safe and legal access.”
Bell points out that the medical board in 2011 placed a call to Georgia doctors soliciting participation in the Patient Qualification Review Board. The board would review and patients for the program.
“It is now well documented that cannabis (marijuana) have proven medical benefits and can be safely be used to treat numerous conditions, not just cancer and glaucoma” Bell said. “We need the medical board to make this a priority issue and help advance cannabis therapeutics here is Georgia.”
Twenty states and the District of Columbia have medical marijuana laws and New York is set to be the next state to provide the medicine.
Georgia CARE is working with legislators on introducing more comprehensive legislation that will expand the current program.
Georgia CARE Project was established in 2012 as an advocacy group geared toward educating the public, media and legislators on medical marijuana, criminal justice reform and commercial hemp cultivation.