Jim Galloway | January 20, 2016
The next phase in the state Capitol fight over medicinal marijuana could involve handcuffs and law-breaking.
Principled law-breaking, but law-breaking nonetheless. In fact, it already has.
Last spring, when Gov. Nathan Deal signed Haleigh’s Hope Act into law, you might have assumed that Georgia’s fight over the use of cannabis oil to treat seizures and other conditions was over.
The new law gives limited protection to those who use or administer the substance. But possession of marijuana in any form remains a violation of federal law, as does transporting it across state lines – and into Georgia.
To address this last point, state Rep. Allen Peake, R-Macon, has introduced House Bill 722. The measure would expand the number of diseases and conditions for which cannabis oil could be prescribed, which alone has inflamed prosecuting attorneys.
But the bill also calls for “a minimum of two and a maximum of six in-state manufacturers for the production of all medical cannabis within the state by Dec. 1, 2016.” The idea is to eliminate the risk that parents and other caregivers run of becoming felons.
Peake’s bill already bears the signatures of more than 100 House members. It has Speaker David Ralston’s blessing. But resistance in the Senate is certain. The governor has made his opposition clear, lining up with those who think H.B. 722 would be a slippery slope written into law.