BY LEAH MAURER
This even though they have received permission to use a form of medical marijuana in Georgia this month, bringing the statewide total of people using the product to more than 1,800. Additionally, since May 9 when the latest expansion law took effect, 185 people registered as caregivers bringing the statewide total to 2,248.
Georgia lawmakers have added 6 diseases to the list of conditions that qualify someone for a medical marijuana patient card. They include Tourette’s syndrome, autism, Alzheimer’s disease, AIDS, nerve damage called peripheral neuropathy and a painful skin condition called epidermolysis bullosa.
However, cannabis cannot be produced or sold in the State of Georgia, nor can it cross state lines under federal law. Sadly, patients and families are put in the position to have to find a manufacturer willing to ship products OR travel to another state where the oil is made and risk being caught breaking the law as they return home.
According to WABE (Atlanta’s NPR affiliate):
Rep. Allen Peake, a Republican who authored Georgia’s legislation, said the steady number of sign-ups is more reason for the state to allow production of medical marijuana products. Peake revealed recently that he plays a key role in helping some Georgians get cannabis oil.
Each month he receives different types of cannabis oil at his Macon office and provides it to people around the state.
Federal law bars transporting marijuana, a Schedule I narcotic, across the state lines. Peake says he doesn’t bring the oil in himself and doesn’t ask how it gets to his door. The process puts him in a legal gray area but he said appreciation from patients or their family members makes it worthwhile.
“It’s what continues to push us to take the risk because it’s having such an incredible impact on folks’ lives,” he said.
To give a little background…in 1980, the Georgia General Assembly unanimously passes a medical marijuana research act, (Controlled Substance Therapeutic Research Act). This made Georgia one of the first states to recognize the medical benefits of marijuana. While, this landmark legislation opens the doors to therapeutic cannabis, the law relies upon federal cooperation and supply. Thus, the law is cumbersome and ineffective in accomplishing its goal to further the research into the benefits of medical marijuana, and leaves patients in Georgia with no medical marijuana.
It is essential that states with medical marijuana programs allow their patients to have safe (IN STATE) access to their medicine. Otherwise, they are forced to continue to operate on a prohibition-based, black market system, which is the predicament they are faced with in Georgia with no medical marijuana.