Special session needed for medical marijuana?

March 28, 2014 9:16 am

by Jason · 10 comments

Gov. Nathan Deal may have call a special session if he wants to tackle medical marijuana this year (ie. before the election), so says former state Supreme Court Justice Leah Ward Sears:

Former Justice Leah Ward Sears says she doesn’t think Governor Deal can issue an executive order to give Georgians with seizure disorders the ability to legally use an oil based form of marijuana.

She says it’s because gubernatorial executive powers appear limited in the Georgia Constitution.

“And it seems to me that this kind of thing would be invading the province of the legislature, and I don’t think the executive can do that.”

But Ward Sears says it’s possible something can be done through a state agency.

“Perhaps. He would have to get with his lawyers and get with the agencies. He’d have to be very creative, but creative things often pass muster, maybe an experimental pilot project. There might be other things in other state laws that allow a governor to do something temporarily.”

Don’t get me wrong, I fully support HB 60, which expands gun rights in the Peach State, but passing that measure while stalling on medical marijuana is just the latest example of poor messaging that continues to plague Georgia Republicans.

Michael Silver March 28, 2014 at 10:21 am

The impression that HB60 came out of nowhere to be passed is not accurate. The majority of the elements in HB60 were passed by both House and Senate at various times during the past 4 years. The clauses have been vetted and discussed in numerous hearings with extensive public comments lasting HOURS.

Contrary to claims by the NYT and Jay Bookman, the bill is not very extreme. Most of it codifies or tweeks existing legal activity. An accurate portrayal is that was the logical next step that is two years too late.

The medical marijuana issue recently popped up and to my knowledge there haven’t been many hearings on the issue. Legalizing marijuana isn’t as easy as waiving a magic wand. There are lots of considerations to be analyzed and sort out. DUI, druggist rules, tracking, gun license, etc. Then the OCGA needs to be scrubbed to make sure all of the hidden marijuana prohibitions are updated.

Dave Bearse March 29, 2014 at 1:51 am

“There are lots of considerations to be analyzed and sort out. DUI, druggist rules, tracking, gun license, etc.”

This cannabis being considered is non-psychoactive, and doesn’t produce any mind-altering effects. The application of those of considerations to cannabis oil are no different than say Lipitor. except that the side effects are less, and there’s less knowledge of the therapeutic benefits.

Substitute gun show rules for druggist rules, and the laundry list of considerations is more relevant to some of the ammo out there..

Michael Silver March 29, 2014 at 8:07 am

Sorry, I didn’t write that well. If we repeal the prohibition on cannabis for medical reasons, then we need to legalize its use through our the law and our system. Employees need protection from being fired, the documentation and reasons to get prescribed need to be defined, what happens if you are detained for DUI and have cannabinoids in your blood, what about your 4th amendment rights in event a drug sniffing dog hits on your car, what about federal law, etc.

The drug warriors and their myrmidons have been criminalizing cannabis use for a long time and its going to take a lot of effort to erase their nearly century’s worth of work. I think the biggest obstacle the effort will encounter is the same gun-totters did. Gov. Deal and Lt. Gov Cagle.

Deal and Cagle will make statements supporting the idea, but they’ll work in the background to kill the effort. Remember, these two supported a law to remove EFFECTIVE cold-medicine from the shelves because meth producers were using it. They claimed it would reduce meth availability in the state. Has it? I haven’t seen stats showing it had any impact other than to raise the hassle and price to Georgians seeking relief from the common cold. To Deal and Cagle, government control is more important than public health.

Dave Bearse March 29, 2014 at 6:29 pm

Good points, but it’s not like new ground is being plowed. Medical marijuana has been legal in many states for years.

xdog March 28, 2014 at 1:06 pm

So let’s see–there’s no evidence that tweaked marijuana is effective, there’s no mechanism to grow or buy it without running foul of state and federal law, and the bill singles out one cohort to benefit to the exclusion of others. I understand the urgency to try to fix kids suffering dozens of seizures daily; any possible solution should be pursued and the current bill seems reasonable on its face but until someone takes a ‘creative’ look at the mechanics of making it happen, it won’t and shouldn’t.

btw, Michael Silver, are you concerned with anything that isn’t a gun or a gun bill?

Michael Silver March 28, 2014 at 3:52 pm

Gun law, crime, and active killers are areas that I feel I have above average knowledge about. I’ve been involved with gun rights since 2002 on the state and federal levels and I also do Law Enforcement research regarding crime and killers in collaboration with others. Some of my work was included in a Forbes Article about Mass Murderers in September. http://www.forbes.com/sites/jimpowell/2013/09/04/what-should-you-do-if-youre-threatened-by-a-mass-murderer/

I don’t have the depth of knowledge to post on PP about other subjects so I mostly limit myself to reading the comments and making the occasional snarky comment.

You’ll see less of me posting about guns over time. My reason for chilling is that I don’t see another gun bill passing while Gov Deal or Lt.Gov Cagle are in office. They and the Senate Republicans made it very clear that they are in office to defend and protect gun-control even at the expense of public safety.

I testified at the HB60 Senate hearing about crime and how Licensees carrying guns in more places is a proven benefit to the state. I tried to warn them that Georgia’s gun-free zones will be a target of an active killer in the near future and why. I had verifiable facts coming out of the waazoo. Nobody on that committee cared. Sen. Hunter Hill’s eyes were rolling so much, I thought they were attached to an electric motor.

The Last Democrat in Georgia March 28, 2014 at 9:41 pm

But…but…but…Bloomberg and the liberals say that all guns are bad and that all law-abiding citizens should not be allowed to have guns and that only the cops and the military and outlaws should be allowed to have guns so that the government can do whatever it wants without that pesky ‘We the People’ thing getting in the way…

xdog March 29, 2014 at 7:48 am

Michael Silver, thanks for your response.

greencracker March 29, 2014 at 4:47 pm

And as I understand, the states that do MMJ/RMJ did it by tweaking the state criminal code: decriminalizing tiny possession, allowing cultivation and ?maybe other stuff? Other avenues, like tweaking rules & regs, didn’t work out, apparently.

Talking to admittedly only one pot grower from CO, he told me tho RMJ is legal there, they still feel hassled … the biggest hassle being that they have to operate in cash and they’re always being checked out for possible money laundering. And with all that cash, sometimes tens of thousands of dollars they’re toting to the bank, they’re big targets for plain old robbery.

Michael Silver March 29, 2014 at 4:58 pm

The Federalist had an interesting story about pot, dispelling most of the objections out there about legalization.

http://thefederalist.com/2014/03/28/five-reasons-chris-christie-is-wrong-about-pot-legalization/

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