Today, during a hearing on Georgia House Bill 722, the House Judiciary Committee slammed the doors on a bill that would have allowed for the cultivation of cannabis for medicine. It was a huge disappointment for Georgia advocates of cannabis medicine. The bill survived but the heart of the bill, in-state cultivation, was ripped out.
HB-722 was a follow up bill to HB-1 that passed in the 2015 legislative session. The bill allows some patients to possess cannabis extracts. The problem is there is no legal supply of the oils in Georgia. Patients must obtain a card then import the oil from other states in violation of federal laws.
“I feel like cast of ‘The Walking Dead,’” Peake told the committee. “I must look like I’ve been disemboweled here.”
James Bell, director of Georgia C.A.R.E. Project, said Governor Deal and House members have betrayed the people of Georgia by passing a law (HB 1) that does little to help those who can benefit from the medicine.
“We were told from the start that Gov. Deal was going to order them to kill the bill”, Bell said. “Republican leaders were just following orders.”
Bell said supporters will continue to advocate for better legislation and look forward the the 2016 – 2018 elections.
“Cannabis will be a major issue in the up-coming elections”, Bell said. “We want to put each candidate on record as to where their stand on reform issues.”
The committee will hold yet another hearing to finalize the the compromise.
According to Committee Chairman, Rep. Rich Golick, R-Smyrna, the revised version of HB-722 is something he expects to pass the committee and the house. The bill still has to go to the senate for debate and approval and a signature of the governor.
“In this building, politics is the art of the possible,” said Golick, speaking to his committee meeting in the basement of the state Capitol.