A bill in the Georgia Legislature got a committee Ok last week to expand the use of medical CBD cannabis oil in the state.
In addition to using cannabis oil for seizures and other conditions, this legislation, if approved by the full House and Senate and signed by Gov. Nathan Deal, would add Alzheimer’s, AIDS, autism, epidermolysis bullosa, peripheral neuropathy and Tourette’s syndrome.
In addition, any hospice patient could have the oil no matter what their diagnosis.
In 2015, the state approved the possession of having up to 20 oz. of high CBD cannabis oil for cancer, Parkinson’s and epilepsy patients.
Despite last week’s committee action, the use of medical cannabis still has a long way to go both in Georgia and the nation.
Nationally, cannabis continues to be regulated as a Schedule 1 drug, the nation’s most restrictive category. Other Schedule 1 drugs are heroin, LSD, Ecstasy, GHB and other potent drugs that have no medical use and that can be highly addictive. Putting marijuana on that schedule was done under the Nixon Administration as a way to get back at marijuana using “hippies” who had politically opposed Nixon in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
Because of that listing, real medical research on cannabis has been stymied in the U.S. Only a handful of FDA approved research programs have been done and those are still in their infancy. Other nations, particularly Israel, have been doing medical research on cannabis for years. And last week, Oxford University in England announced it plans a $12.3 million research program on cannabis for medical use.
That federal listing has also held some states back from allowing the full use of medical cannabis. Many Georgia leaders, for example, fear a federal backlash if they go too far in allowing cannabis possession.
It was that concern that killed a move last year in the state to allow regulated local cultivation of cannabis to produce the oil. While approved Georgians can have the oil, they have to go out of state to get it. Some Georgia leaders fear that allowing cultivation in-state would run afoul of federal regulations and could lead to pressure to allow recreational use of cannabis.
Despite pressure last year, the federal government refused to reclassify cannabis from being a Schedule 1 drug. And new Trump Administration attorney general Jeff Sessions has sent signals that he is opposed to medical cannabis. If the U.S. Justice Department decided to crack down on cannabis — for medical or recreational — it could destroy much of what has been done at the state level to make medical access available.
I’ve written a lot about this issue over the last couple of years. Cannabis isn’t a miracle cure for every medical condition, but there does seem to be a good bit of evidence that it does help some people. The lack of real medical research is the real shame here.
If “conservative” lawmakers in Washington were really supportive of free market solutions to problems, they would champion rescheduling marijuana so that more research could be done. Instead, they continue to slam the door on research and have forced the states to adopt laws and policies that are in direct contradiction to federal laws.
At some point, all of that will have to be sorted out. It doesn’t appear as if the Trump Administration and AG Sessions will be the ones who do that.
Mr. Buffington, refreshing to see a voice of reason on this subject, anything that offers alleviation of suffering and a better quality of life should be thoroughly considered. I don't need Session's moral police telling me what is right or wrong. The government should not be our masters but servants for the betterment of our citizens.