Georgia Lawmakers Working Out Kinks In Cannabis Oil Bill

GEORIGIA:  While regulations governing the production and distribution of cannabis oil in Georgia are now absent from proposed medical marijuana legislation, state lawmakers are pushing forward with remedies to the problem.

“After intense discussions with Gov. (Nathan) Deal, the decision was made to delay the in-state growth model for a year for more study to make sure we get it right,” state Rep. Allen Peake, R-Macon, said in a statement last week.

Lawmakers now are pursuing several options to ensure patients can acquire cannabis oil, even if the marijuana plant isn’t grown here. The oil has anti-anxiety effects but lacks enough THC, a psychoactive ingredient, to create a marijuana “high.”


Governor Supporting New Bill To Legalize Medical Marijuana

GEORGIA:  Channel 2 Action News has learned Gov. Nathan Deal is supporting state Rep. Allen Peake‘s plan to decriminalize medical marijuana in Georgia.
Channel 2 political reporter Lori Geary talked exclusively with the governor Friday about the new bill that would mean big relief to families with children who suffer from seizure disorders. 
Deal told Geary he supports Peake’s efforts to offer immunity from prosecution for the families in those states who want to return home to Georgia with the medicine.
At least 17 Georgia parents who have kids with severe seizure disorders are in Colorado giving their kids cannabis oil, which doesn’t get you high.

Georgia Boy Among First To Receive Experimental Medical Marijuana Drug

GEORGIA:  A 7-year-old boy is one of the first people in the country to receive a potent form of medical marijuana as part of an “extended use” clinical trial to reduce seizures.

Preston Weaver, who lives in Athens, Georgia, has Lennox-Gastaut syndrome which is a severe form of epilepsy. He experiences up to 100 seizures a day, although many are confined to his brain and aren’t noticeable to an observer. There is no known cure for the condition.

Many of the drugs available to treat the syndrome don’t work long term, especially for children. Even with more than a dozen medications Weaver has had no relief.

The active ingredient in Epidiolex, the experimental drug that Weaver and one other child are receiving, is called cannabidiol. It’s also the main active ingredient in marijuana though it doesn’t produce a high.

Weeding Out The Different Effects Of Cannabis Oil And Marijuana

GEORIGIA:  State lawmakers have a month before they get back to work in the 2015 legislative session and already the debate over medical marijuana has gotten into the, ahem, weeds.

State Rep. Allen Peake, R-Macon serves as co-chair of a joint legislative committee that has studied whether and how to legalize the drug for certain conditions, including seizures in children.

Peake has revived a bill aimed at allowing cannabis oil made from marijuana plants for treatment of certain seizure disorders and other health problems. He is finalizing that proposal, pre-filed as House Bill 1 after a similar measure fell short last session.

But another committee member, state Sen. Curt Thompson, D-Tucker, is proposing a competing bill that would allow vaporized, edible or smokable marijuana. Thompson also has filed a resolution, calling for a statewide referendum on whether to authorize recreational use of the drug.


Georgia Governor Pushes Trials Of Marijuana Derivative

GEORGIA:  Georgia’s governor is pushing clinical trials for a marijuana-derived drug that proponents say could help treat severe seizure disorders among children, an unlikely election-year move for a Republican in a conservative part of the country that is just beginning to warm up to medical marijuana in narrow circumstances.

Since 1996, 23 states around the country and the District of Columbia have legalized comprehensive access to medical marijuana, and two have decriminalized the drug entirely. But the South has largely resisted out of fears it could lead to widespread drug abuse and other social ills.

This year, though, six Southern states adopted laws establishing some limited access to marijuana products that have minimal or no tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana that makes users feel high. A similar effort in Georgia failed on the last day of the legislative session, which prompted Deal — a Republican up for re-election — to take action to coordinate clinical trial programs in the state.


Athens Georgia Rally To Support Marijuana Reform Scheduled For April 28th

GEORGIA: A rally to show public support for marijuana law reform will be hosted by the Georgia Campaign for Access, Reform and Education 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 28 at Athens City Hall on College Avenue.

Georgia CARE Director James Bell more than 30,000 marijuana-related arrests occur in Georgia each year, which diverts resources away from more serious criminal issues. An ounce of marijuana carries up to 10 years in state prison.

During the rally, Bell hopes to bring attention to the harm marijuana prohibition is causing in the state. Guest speakers from various organizations also will participate.

Medical Marijuana Changes On Tap Today

GEORGIA:  Gov. Nathan Deal’s staff has quietly worked on a plan to allow the limited use of medical marijuana since lawmakers scuttled a legislative push to do so last month. He is ready to unveil that proposal later today.

Deal will hold a press conference this afternoon to outline his plan that could allow some families to use a form of cannabis oil to treat debilitating seizures. He also will discuss a separate idea to create a pilot program to start privatizing the foster care system.

Both are part of a larger strategy of taking executive action where lawmakers failed. It’s led to criticism from political rivals and questions from legal experts about whether the governor is overstepping his authority. But Deal’s camp sees advantages to taking this route.

Georgia State Lawmakers OK Medical Marijuana As Seizure Treatment

GEORGIA:  A Georgia measure that would legalize use of a liquid, non-intoxicating form of marijuana for patients with severe seizure disorders has been passed by the state House of Representatives with wide support.

Lawmakers approved the legislation on Monday in a 171-4 bipartisan vote, and the bill, which would limit availability of medical marijuana to a handful of research facilities, now goes to the state Senate for consideration.

The measure’s sponsor, Republican Representative Allen Peake, said he had become interested in the issue after learning about a constituent’s 4-year-old daughter, who suffers from a seizure disorder.

“This really was a human story,” Peake said in an interview on Tuesday. “I couldn’t be more proud of my colleagues for the courageous vote they cast.”

Marijuana Bill Clears Georgia Committee

GEORGIA: Without opposition, a Georgia House committee Wednesday supported a bill to legalize medical marijuana in the state.

That vote by the House Health Committee on House Bill 885 came around 6:45 p.m.

State Representative Allen Peake says he expected his bill would be sent to the House Rules Committee and then hit the House floor Monday morning.

Anxious parents sighed in relief as medical marijuana inches closer to becoming legal in Georgia. After nearly two hours of debate, the Georgia House’s Health and Human Services committee unanimously voted to pass House Bill 885. [Read more…]

Medical Marijuana Gains Traction In The Deep South

GEORGIA: Medical marijuana has been a non-starter in recent years in the Deep South, where many Republican lawmakers feared it could lead to widespread drug use and social ills. That now appears to be changing, with proposals to allow a form of medical marijuana gaining momentum in a handful of Southern states.

Twenty states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana, and this year powerful GOP lawmakers in Georgia and Alabama are putting their weight behind bills that would allow for the limited use of cannabis oil by those with specific medical conditions. Other Southern states are also weighing the issue with varying levels of support. [Read more…]