Some state lawmakers continue fighting to increase access to medical cannabis for Georgians whose suffering it can alleviate. Some Georgians directly affected by the issue are fervently, in some cases desperately, urging them on.
What they, and other Georgians who can’t speak for themselves, are up against — still — is the politics of an intractable War on Drugs mentality that has been discredited so long, so often and in so many ways that the continuing “debate” over medicinal cannabis is an exasperating anomaly.
Georgia does have a cannabis registry that allows people with a few specific diagnoses to possess a liquid cannabis extract with a very low to practically nonexistent psychoactive effect.
As it now stands, according to a Wednesday story in the Macon Telegraph, only people with ALS, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s or sickle-cell disease, and those with “severe” or “end-stage” cancer can legally possess and use medicinal cannabis. A bill sponsored by Rep. Allen Peake, R-Macon, who has been fighting this battle for several years now, would eliminate the words “severe” and “end-stage” from the restrictions. It would also add patients with HIV/AIDS, Alzheimer’s, PTSD, Tourette’s, autism or chronic severe pain to the cannabis-eligible list. (Talk about your slippery slope …)
Last week the House Medical Cannabis Working Group heard from parents and grandparents, veterans, and people with elderly family members, among others, about the need for and benefits of cannabis in easing their own and their loved ones’ symptoms and suffering.
University of Georgia public policy professor David Bradford told the committee that controlled access to medical cannabis can actually save money and lives: Patients who use cannabis instead of opioids for relief don’t face the risk of addiction and overdose.
“If you turn on a medical cannabis law,” Bradford said, “it means fewer and fewer people use pain medications.”
Marijuana is still officially