Recent editorials from Georgia newspapers:
The Rome News-Tribune on expanding the use of medical marijuana in Georgia:
The issue of expanding the use of medical marijuana in Georgia again confronts the General Assembly. It is an issue fraught with hope on the one hand and concern on the other.
Proponents of medical marijuana, or cannabis oil, have mounted another effort to expand its coverage to more patients. Under the state law enacted two years ago, cannabis oil is allowed for treatment of cancer, seizures related to epilepsy or trauma-related head injuries, and severe or end-stage amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s Disease), multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, sickle cell, Crohn’s and mitochondrial diseases.
Rep. Allen Peake, R-Macon, author of the existing law and chairman of a newly appointed study committee, has introduced a bill to add six illnesses to the list for cannabis oil treatment. They are post-traumatic stress disorder, Alzheimer’s, autism, Tourette’s syndrome, AIDS and chronic pain. Peake is also proposing a 2018 statewide referendum on the question of allowing cultivation of medical marijuana in Georgia, but that proposal is not expected to gain anywhere near the two-thirds majorities needed in both houses of the legislature.
Georgia has more than 1,300 registered cannabis patients, according to a state Health Department official.
Nearly half of these patients suffer from seizure disorders and about one in four are children. One-third are 50 years of age and older. In one legislative committee hearing after another, parents of sick children and others supporting use of cannabis have told of its efficacy in treating severe symptoms and diseases.
Apparently, there’s a positive side effect from medical marijuana programs. Dr. David Bradford, a University of Georgia professor, has reported that states with such programs had a reduction in the rate of opioid addiction and opioid-related deaths stemming from a type of drug abuse that