February 3, 2017 Radio Commentary

3 New Marijuana Bills

Radio Commentary, 90.7, 91.7 New Life FM, February 3, 2017 – By Sue Ella Deadwyler

Last year, Representative Allen Peake promised he’d be back this year to expand the marijuana law, and that’s what he’s doing. His H.B. 65 deletes restrictions lawmakers put on marijuana when his first bill passed. For example: H.B. 65 removes the one-year Georgia residency requirement for a THC patient to register for treatment with marijuana. Without that restriction, Georgia could be flooded with out-of-state drop-in buyers of medical marijuana.

In addition to that, Mr. Peake’s bill deletes several important reports – the required quarterly physicians’ report on dosages recommended for certain conditions, clinical responses from the treatment, as well as reports on compliance, side effects and drug interactions. Then, H.B. 65 adds seven more to the list of conditions qualifying for THC treatment – Tourette’s syndrome, autism, intractable pain, Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, Alzheimer’s disease, HIV and AIDS. But I want to focus on HIV/AIDS because of a law that passed last year, allowing minors, of any age, to be treated for HIV and AIDS without parental knowledge or consent.

Making HIV and AIDS eligible for treatment with cannabis (marijuana) oil reminded me that minor children, who already receive confidential treatment for conditions related to sexual activity, including abortion, could be treated with marijuana oil for HIV and AIDS, without parental notification. Until the law was changed last year, the law mandated that parents be notified if their minor child was diagnosed with HIV or AIDS!Representative Peake, also, introduced H.R. 36, proposing a constitutional amendment to allow in-state cultivation of marijuana and the sale of medical marijuana, which would be regulated by the General Assembly. A portion of revenue from medical marijuana sales would be used for drug treatment. H.R. 36 does not mention where marijuana plants could be grown or who would harvest or transport or process raw marijuana into medical products or what products would be developed for sale. Previous bills that did not pass mentioned multiple manufacturers or producers and marijuana products to be sold in retail stores.

This year’s third marijuana bill is Senator Watson’s S.B. 16 that would reduce the strength of THC in marijuana medication from five-percent to three-percent, and would add only one condition – autism – to the list of conditions qualifying for treatment. Senator Watson’s bill sounds more reasonable than the other two. To express your opinion on S.B. 16, call Senator Unterman at 404 463-1368.

Call Representative Golick at 404 656-5943 and ask him to keep Mr. Peake’s H.B. 65 and H.R. 36 in committee. They would push Georgia further down a path that may bring unintended consequences. For Georgia Insight I’m Sue Ella Deadwyler, your Capitol correspondent