Headlines were made over the weekend as Georgia media outlets reported that Gov. Nathan Deal would support House Bill 1, which would legalize CBD-only medical marijuana in Georgia. Sadly, that excitement was promptly turned into disappointment when it came to light that changes were made to the bill in order to secure the Governor’s support.
House Bill 1, also known as Haleigh’s Hope Act, would legalize CBD-only medical marijuana and allow for a framework of production and distribution to be formed. However, at the behest of Deal, the ability to produce and distribute medical marijuana oil was taken out.
Without a system of production and distribution within the state, there will be no legal way for Georgia patients to legally obtain CBD oil. Although medical marijuana is legal in 23 states, there are strict laws against trafficking it across state lines.
Katie McKoy is mother of three whose child Matthew suffers from optic pathway glioma and has a tumor on his spine. Katie would love to use CBD oil to treat her son, but even if House Bill 1 passes, she says she still runs the risk of arrest for getting his medicine.
“[Under HB 1] I would be in the position of breaking federal laws and sneaking medicine across many states with no protections to get it here for my children,” McKoy told the Times-Herald. “I can’t risk any drug charges … and moving to another state is out of the question for us right now.”
Although McKoy is unable to move, there are still dozens of families moving to medical marijuana states in order to secure medicine for their loved ones.
While House Bill 1 is severely limited, a much more broad-based medical marijuana bill is still in the works for this coming legislative session. Introduced by state Sen. Curt Thompson, Senate Bill 7 would allow for full medical marijuana and not just CBD-only strains. Thompson plans on introducing the bill when the legislature reconvenes.
The proposed bill is expected to be met with stiff resistance, especially considering that the CBD-only bill couldn’t remain intact as it went through Georgia’s legislature.
What is most intriguing about the legislative difficulties medical marijuana is having in Georgia is the fact that an overwhelming majority of Georgians support medical marijuana. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 84 percent of Georgia’s voters support medical marijuana, while a slim majority support recreational marijuana.
The verdict on medical marijuana is clear to Georgia’s citizens, but it remains muddled in politics. While delegates debate, citizens suffer.