Georgia Should Aim Higher

Everyone is doing it, California, Oregon, Colorado. Basically everybody.

Why aren’t we? Is it because we already have?

Back in 1980, when sideburns were in, Georgia was among the first to study medicinal marijuana. And by study, I mean pass a bill authorizing its study.

From Creative Loafing:

Under the law, the state created a program to study the effects of medical marijuana on cancer and glaucoma patients. The program was to be overseen by the Patient Qualification and Review Board, or PQRB. The board’s governor-appointed members would review doctors and patients allowed to access cannabis for medical treatment. The marijuana would come from the University of Mississippi Marijuana Project, the nation’s only federally approved pot farm.

But Georgia’s medical marijuana program soon faced a major problem when the legal pot supply dried up. In 1982, the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the Drug Enforcement Administration stopped delivery of the country’s sole source of legal cannabis.

Georgia’s program had effectively ended without ever supplying a single patient with the medical marijuana promised. Subsequent Georgia governors had the authority to reappoint the board, but never acted. As a result, the law has lingered on the books for the last 30 years.


Paul Broun was thrilled. He reportedly was hugging people on the floor of the General Assembly when it passed. Unfortunately, that was a different time, and a different Paul Broun.

What’s going on now in the country?

  • 13 states have proposed or enacted legalization, including Colorado and Washington
  • Three states have commissioned studies to analyze the impact of legalization: New Mexico, Rhode Island and West Virginia
  • 21 is the recommended age for legal use of marijuana across the board
  • The majority of proposed legislation recommends each state’s Department of Revenue, Department of Taxation or the Liquor Control Board serve as the regulating body
  • Two states propose creating a new regulatory body: Maine – Bureau of Marijuana Regulation, Licensing and Enforcement; Massachusetts – Cannabis Control Board
  • Taxation varies amongst proposed legislation ranging from 15 percent in New Hampshire, 25 percent in Nevada and $50 per ounce in Maine
  • The State of Washington limits advertising signage of retail outlets selling marijuana to 1,600 square inches

So, I have to ask, are you a 420 person?



The whole law after the jump for your perusal:


O.C.G.A. § 43-34-123  (2012)

§ 43-34-123.  Controlled Substances Therapeutic Research Program

(a) There is established under the Georgia Composite Medical Board the Controlled Substances Therapeutic Research Program, which shall be administered by the board. Under the program, the board shall act as a sponsor of state-wide investigational studies, utilizing as drug investigators individual physicians who elect to participate in accordance with the guidelines and protocols developed by the board. Such guidelines and protocols shall be designed to ensure that stringent security and record-keeping requirements for research drugs are met and that participants in the program meet those research standards necessary to establish empirical bases for the evaluation of marijuana as a medically recognized therapeutic substance. The board shall promulgate such rules and regulations as it deems necessary or advisable to administer the program. In promulgating such guidelines, protocols, rules, and regulations, the board shall take into consideration those pertinent rules and regulations promulgated by the Federal Drug Enforcement Agency, the Food and Drug Administration, and the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

(b) The program shall be limited to patients who are certified to the board by a physician as being:

(1) Cancer patients involved in a life-threatening situation in which treatment by chemotherapy or radiology has produced severe side effects; or

(2) Glaucoma patients who are not responding to conventional controlled substances.

(c) No patient may be admitted to the program without full disclosure by the physician of the experimental nature of the program and of the possible risks and side effects of the proposed treatment.

(d) The cost of any blood test required by the federal Food and Drug Administration prior to entrance into the program shall be paid by the patient seeking entrance into the program.

(e) Only the following persons shall have access to the names and other identifying characteristics of patients in the program for whom marijuana has been prescribed under this article:

(1) The board;

(2) The review board created by Code Section 43-34-124;

(3) The Attorney General or his or her designee;

(4) Any person directly connected with the program who has a legitimate need for the information; and

(5) Any federal agency having responsibility for the program.

HISTORY: Code 1933, § 84-904A, enacted by Ga. L. 1980, p. 82, § 1; Ga. L. 2009, p. 859, § 1/HB 509.


  1. benevolus says:

    For a long time I thought that the hurdle to legalization was that it was so easy to grow your own, i.e. they wouldn’t be able to tax it. But it’s probably just as easy to brew your own or grow your own tobacco, so I think the revenue stream will come.

  2. Rick Day says:

    I see your time stamp. in a few weeks I will be travelling to Denver to attend the Drug Policy Alliance Biannual conference. My promary purose is to secure funding for push polls and pestering fence sitters in the Lege with “Rep X wants to jail your gramma for her God grown cancer medicines”, as well as throwing money to any candidate who champions the cause of decrim for adult consumption.

    What is blocking progress? Well, small towns like Snellville. Look at how cities like this use racial profiling to create a cash cow for the city. Figure out a way to streamline the fine and give most of it to the town (better yet, have all misdemeanor cannabis possession fine money go to the state). What else is blocking progress? The ‘drug court vendors’. The most common conviction for drug offenses is small possession of cannabis. That is a cash cow as well.

    Feed or starve these tumors, and common sense will eventually prevail. Until then, hicks rule the weed distribution.

  3. saltycracker says:

    Medical marijuana is a ruse to continue ways to make this golden goose pay for legislative and law enforcement enterprises. It is a silly next step, get on with it. Legalize it, control it and tax it like tobacco and liquor.

  4. WeedBiz says:

    The Georgia CARE Project is doing a superb job of putting boots on the ground in the Capitol. Because of their hard work the mention of the word marijuana becomes less dirty in ordinary conversation and dialogue begins to take place. In addition, more and more Georgia-based companies are turning to cannabusiness to make a living. A lot of people in Georgia are coming up with great ideas and selling their products in the legal cannabis industry across the country.

Comments are closed.