Public Statement on Georgia House Bill 1

Georgia C.A.R.E. thanks Rep. Allen Peake and Rep. Micah Gravley and other sponsors of House Bill 1 and the Georgia General Assembly for their efforts to acknowledge and establish cannabis as a recognized medicine in the state of Georgia.

We are proud of the patients, parents and the public who emailed, called and visited legislators concerning this issue. Their efforts have opened the door for the future of this natural medicine and potential healing of thousands of sick and afflicted citizens. We acknowledge that this legislation is only a start to establishing safe and legal access to cannabis in Georgia.

With the creation of a study commission, Georgia can now focus on the best policy for the establishment of in-state cultivation, whole plant medicine and expansion of medical conditions.

Georgia cannot look to states like Colorado as the answer to medical accessibility and not implement a similar policy here in this state. Georgia became a pioneer in cannabis therapeutics in 1980 with the passage of the “Controlled Substance Therapeutic Research Act” for treating cancer related conditions and glaucoma, one of the medical conditions not listed in HB-1.

HB-1 does not legalize cannabis but offers some patients immunity from prosecution from importing specified cannabis extracts from other states. It does not allow for a legal source within the state. Those who can afford to travel to other states or risk smuggling the products into Georgia may benefit. The medicine cannot be prescribed, only recommended by doctors due to federal restriction. Federal reform is necessary to remove these restrictions.

We view Senate Bill 7, offered by Sen. Curt Thompson, as a viable solution to legal access in Georgia and we will encourage the passage of such legislation in the future.

Georgia C.A.R.E. is proud of our efforts to advance the political process by authoring position papers read by many legislators. This information provided a guideline on how to move Georgia toward a practicable policy of medicine for the masses. We will continue to advocate for better legislation and will work for safe and legal access.

We recognize that many patients and advocates are disappointed by the limited natural of HB-1 and we encourage them to continue to push for better legislation. Politics is always a distressing process for the public to witness.

We thank those who have supported Georgia C.A.R.E. over the past three years and look forward to future debates. We also thank members of the media who have called on us for our views and input.

As the nation moves forward with cannabis law reform, we know Georgia will move forward also.

Thank you – James Bell, Director Georgia C.A.R.E.