Georgia’s long overlooked medical marijuana law deserves a new hearing, GOP state senator says | Atlanta News & Opinion Blog | Fresh Loaf | Creative Loafing Atlanta

11
Jan

Georgia’s long overlooked medical marijuana law deserves a new hearing, GOP state senator says | Atlanta News & Opinion Blog | Fresh Loaf | Creative Loafing Atlanta

After decades of sitting dormant, Georgia’s medical marijuana program might finally get another look by state lawmakers. And you can partly thank Sanjay Gupta.

Several months ago, state Sen. Josh McKoon, R-Columbus, was watching the CNN correspondent and Grady Hospital neurosurgeon’s documentary on medical marijuana. In it, Gupta interviewed men and women suffering from medical conditions that could be treated with the plant. The topic intrigued McKoon.

“It hasn’t come up while I’ve been here,” McKoon, who was elected in 2010, told CL. “Then i started doing some more research found that Georgia passed [a medical marijuana law] in the early 1980s. Seems to me that we’re long overdue, whether it’s a series of hearings during the session or creating a study committee.”

McKoon, an attorney who chairs the state Senate Judiciary Committee and is considered one of the state GOP’s most talented youngsters, plans to call for hearings on the issue when the General Assembly starts its 40-day session next week.

“There are many many states that have adopted some form of allowance for medical marijuana application,” says McKoon. “I felt it was past time to call for hearings to have that dialogue… [This is about] having a venue to separate fact from fiction on what the potential applications are out there. And see what other states’ experiences have been.”

As CL’s reported in the past, Georgia was surprisingly a pioneer in medical marijuana. It’s had a law on its books since the early 1980s. However, it only allows people battling cancer of glaucoma to use the plant. Other conditions are not covered. Regardless, the state’s never taken the steps to effectively allow the use of medical marijuana, partly by not appointing the members of a board who’d oversee the program. Advocates have prodded the state over the years, and recently have been joined by a group of parents who want the state to allow them to use cannabis oil to help treat their children who are living with conditions such as Dravet syndrome.

Lawmakers could feasibly do so by amending the law. Across the country, more and more states are easing marijuana laws, even going as far as Colorado and outright legalizing the sale of the plant. Whether Georgia, which only recently decided to permit Sunday alcohol sales, would consider seriously allowing residents to use medical marijuana depends on what the public tells lawmakers.

via Georgia’s long overlooked medical marijuana law deserves a new hearing, GOP state senator says | Atlanta News & Opinion Blog | Fresh Loaf | Creative Loafing Atlanta.

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