Sen. Curt Thompson Files Medical and Recreational Marijuana Legislation

While the current policy fight over marijuana in Georgia has been limited to medical cannabis oil for children, Sen. Curt Thompson (D-Norcross) has pre-filed two pieces of legislation that go much further. Thompson’s SB 7 would legalize medical marijuana to treat a wide array of conditions from cancer to glaucoma to Chrone’s Disease. Thompson explains his position:

“During the 2015 legislative session, we will have the opportunity to provide our doctors with an additional tool by legalizing marijuana for medical use. This past summer, a joint study committee examined the options for legalizing marijuana and, already, three bi-partisan bills have been filed. Our discussions of marijuana in Georgia – in its many forms – have been largely limited to children’s health. While I adamantly support cannabis oil treatments for children with severe medical problems, I believe physicians should have the ability to care for all of their patients, regardless of age. SB 7 would provide doctors another tool for care and treatment.”

Thompson has additionally filed SR 6, which would place a constitutional amendment on the ballot where voters could decide if they wish to “legalize, regulate, and tax the sale of retail marijuana through licensed establishments.” The tax revenue would be set aside for education and transportation infrastructure. This revenue could stack up nicely: Colorado has collected about $45 million of marijuana tax revenue as of August.

You can read Thompson’s full press release below the fold.

Thompson Files Medical Marijuana Legislation
‘We have the opportunity to provide doctors with an additional tool’

Atlanta, Ga. – November 24, 2014 – Georgia State Senator Curt Thompson (D-Norcross) today pre-filed legislation that would legalize medical marijuana, along with a separate measure that would legalize and regulate marijuana retail sales to adults.

“Few would disagree that physicians need every good tool in their medical toolbox to provide the best health care possible to their patients. Whether that tool is a new diagnostic test, a new antibiotic or a form of proven pain reliever, doctors need the ability to provide the best possible short and long-term health care for their patients, SB 7 is designed to do just that,” Thompson said.

Thompson’s SB 7 would allow doctors to prescribe marijuana of up to two ounces for specific debilitating medical conditions, including: cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis-C, ALS, Chrone’s Disease, Alzheimer’s and chronic or debilitating condition that cause Cachexia (wasting syndrome), severe and chronic pain, severe nausea and seizures/muscle spasms from epilepsy or MS. SB 7 also includes a number of common sense limitations and guardrails for dispensing the drug. Marijuana, like any other prescription drug, would be regulated.

In addition, Thompson has filed SR 6 to advance the conversation of marijuana use. This constitutional amendment, if approved by voters, would legalize, regulate and tax the sale of retail marijuana through licensed establishments. The tax collections would be constitutionally earmarked for education and transportation infrastructure. Many other states have passed similar measures.

Thompson said the retail marijuana would co-exist with, not replace, medical marijuana. SB 7 includes lengthy requirements about licensing facilities, excise taxes and fees, the creation of a state authority to regulate the sales. SR 6, while separate from medical marijuana treatment, puts the discussion of retail marijuana regulation and taxation on the table.
Thompson said SR 6 provides an opportunity to regulate sales and to make available another revenue stream without raising existing taxes.

“During the 2015 legislative session, we will have the opportunity to provide our doctors with an additional tool by legalizing marijuana for medical use. This past summer, a joint study committee examined the options for legalizing marijuana and, already, three bi-partisan bills have been filed,” said Thompson. “Our discussions of marijuana in Georgia – in its many forms – have been largely limited to children’s health. While I adamantly support cannabis oil treatments for children with severe medical problems, I believe physicians should have the ability to care for all of their patients, regardless of age. SB 7 would provide doctors another tool for care and treatment.”

Thompson said Georgians will be hearing a great deal about these issues in the coming months and citizens deserve no less than a full exploration and debate by their elected officials.

“I am looking forward to working with my colleagues to advance the discussion of marijuana use and regulation and finding the best possible solution for Georgians,” he said.

24 comments

  1. John Konop says:

    I just went through this with my mother who passed away with esophagus cancer. beyond the fact the War on Drugs has been the biggest driver of poverty….It is totally immoral to not let this be used for medical purposes…The irony it was help up be a NURSE in our elected house. Shame on her! She should face real people like us who have dealt with this issue…I would like to see her look in the face of people and families dealing with cancer….., and explain any rational reason for her irresponsible behavior as an elected official!

    …….– In front of a packed room at the Georgia Capitol, Monroe County mother Janea Cox pleaded for her daughter’s life at the first hearing on a new medical marijuana proposal.

    “I’m going to lose my child if this drug is not approved,” said Cox, whose daughter Haleigh is the inspiration and namesake for House Bill 885, by state Rep. Allen Peake, R-Macon.

    “We’re going to break up my family,” a tearful Cox said while her child was a few miles away at Children’s Hospital of Atlanta at Egleston, where she has been for more than 50 days since a severe attack that caused her to stop breathing for several minutes.

    Cox said her husband would stay in Georgia to keep his job.

    Haleigh’s breathing continues to stop regularly, she said. The mother and daughter were packing for Colorado when the first episode happened.

    Peake’s bill would open a door for Georgians to access to a liquid medicine derived from cannabis for treatment of severe seizure disorders……….

    Read more here: http://www.macon.com/2014/02/10/2928824/medical-cannabis-hearings-begin.html#storylink=cpy

    • Bobloblaw says:

      I don’t support the war on drugs but I don’t think it is a big driver in increased poverty. The poverty rate in the USA declined throughout the mid 1980s until bottoming around 2000. The WOD only increased at that time. If anything a social conservative like Bill Bennent might argue the opposite.

      Interestingly a survey in CO had concluded that marijuana played a role in the elections there. Beauprez was against legalization while Garder was neutral. There were a large number of split tickets Hickenlooper/Gardner in areas that voted for legalization in 2012.

      • John Konop says:

        Bob,

        The biggest driver of economics at the time was irrational lending policy backed by tax payers from Clinton and Bush 2 policies…..which I warned about pre blow bank blow up…..Even during that time poor black and white people dragged behind in the boom times….The key reason is the War on Drugs…once in the justice system it is very hard to get out unless your family has money and or connections…A major study was done by Ohio State university years ago…BTW ask any attorney in the system on either side…..This has been no secrete for years among people in the justice system…

  2. Will Durant says:

    They should just run an endless loop of Sen. Unterman in the well literally holding up the bill while stating sternly “This bill will not pass”. I know it is all due to petty politics but probably the best example of a Republican evoking Tom Murphy since the pendulum swung.

    The recreational one will not see the light of day and more’s the pity.

  3. Three Jack says:

    Good to see somebody trying this, but as the Colorado situation plays out, it has become clear that excessive taxation works against legalization. The black market still thrives out there due to the 30%+ tax. I can’t imagine what the bible thumpers in the GA legislature would set as a tax rate if the bill ever got to a hearing.

    • MattMD says:

      Thank God in Heaven somebody gets it!

      I have heard countless morons say words to the effect of “legalize it, but tax the hell out of it”. Any person who passed a basic economics class could tell you that just increases the black market supply. Look what happened in the Northeast when Jersey and New York decided to “tax the hell” out of cigarettes. The mob started getting truckloads from North Carolina and Virginia where they sold them for a very good profit by undercutting retail. I think that even made a Soprano episode if I’m not mistaken.

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/03/cigarette-smuggling-new-york-_n_5041823.html

      So please, people, you really don’t sound very intelligent when you say “tax the hell” out of something just because you personally find it abhorrent.

    • Bobloblaw says:

      Yeah I agree. Taxes probably can’t exceed 15% tops. The black market thrives in Europe for everything thanks to 20% VAT.

  4. Jon Lester says:

    Here’s one department where it’s always been a better idea to buy local than imported, and Georgia is home to some very good product and horticultural talent.

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