Tag: medical marijuana

U.S. House Votes To Drop Enforcement of Federal Laws in Medical Marijuana Cases

The U.S. House voted 219-189 early Friday morning to deny the Justice Department funds that would be used to enforce federal marijuana laws if they prevented a state from implementing its own law permitting the use of medical marijuana. The vote was on an amendment to the bill funding the operation of the Justice Department for fiscal 2015, and was sponsored by GOP Rep. Dana Rohrabacher of California and cosponsored by Dr. Paul Broun of Georgia.

According to the Huffington Post, the bill was promoted as a states rights issue by its sponsors:

Rohrabacher said on the House floor that the amendment “should be a no-brainer” for conservatives who support states’ rights and argued passionately against allowing the federal government to interfere with a doctor-patient relationship.

Broun said there were “very valid medical reasons” to use marijuana extracts or products. “It’s less dangerous than some narcotics that doctors prescribe all over this country,” Broun said. He said medical marijuana was a states’ rights issue and Congress needed to “reserve the states’ powers under the Constitution.”

The Georgia delegation cast a split vote on the measure, with seven voting in favor, six against and one not voting. Voting in favor were Democrats Sanford Bishop, Hank Johnson and David Scott, and Republicans Paul Broun, Tom Graves, Lynn Westmoreland and Rob Woodall. Democrat John Barrow opposed the measure, along with Republicans Doug Collins, Phil Gingrey, Jack Kingston, Tom Price and Austin Scott. Democrat John Lewis did not vote. Overall, 49 Republicans and 170 Democrats voted for the amendment.

In the 2014 Georgia legislative session, the House passed a bill sponsored by GOP Rep. Allen Peake of Macon providing for the use of non-psychoactive cannabidiol oil in the treatment of seizures in children. The bill failed to win passage in the Senate, and later, Governor Deal announced pilot projects to allow experimental trials of cannabis oil in treating seizures.

The Rohrabacher amendment would sanction the use of medical marijuana beyond the use of CBD oil for the treatment of seizures. Indeed, it appears some consider the measure as a gateway to eventual legalization of recreational marijuana. Medical marijuana is legal in 22 states and the District of Columbia, while the use of CBD oil is permitted in five others. The amendment specifically names those states as exempt from Justice Department enforcement of current law.

The Senate is expected to pass its own appropriations bill funding the Justice and other related departments. The medical marijuana amendment would have to pass in that body as well before becoming law.

Special session needed for medical marijuana?

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.

Atlanta Tea Party leader backs medical marijuana bill

Julianne Thompson, a Georgia-based Tea Party leader, announced support HB 885, a measure that would authorize the use of medical marijuana for research purposes.

“Originally I was shocked and frightened of the mention of any type of marijuana in Georgia. I am both a fiscal and a social conservative and have always been and remain opposed to any legalization of recreational drug use of any kind,” said Thompson in a statement. “The story of Haleigh Cox and countless other children like her are the reason I left behind my preconceived notions when it came to the word ‘Cannibas’ and actually looked at the effectiveness of the treatment behind the proposal.”

“The parents of these children will tell you they are not receiving effective treatment. They rarely get to even see their child’s personality or even a smile, because they are so heavily drugged with multiple, ineffective pharmaceuticals that do nothing to alleviate symptoms and sometimes cause more harm than good,” she said, pointing to an unnamed study which found that the “side effects from legal pharmaceuticals as the third leading cause of death in the U.S.”

Thompson is the co-chair of the Atlanta Tea Party, one of the grassroots groups that came about in 2009. The month of two says that she’s glad that she doesn’t have to make the same sort of decisions that the parents of Haleigh Cox and others have to make. But she cited a family member’s struggle with cancer as part of her evolution on medical marijuana.

“In July 2012, my sister died, not of the actual cancer she was diagnosed with, but from the side effects the chemo had perpetrated on her body,” said Thompson. “At that point I knew there had to be a better way to treat disease, a way that does not violate that we must first do no harm, and while we still search for cures and treatments for diseases that plague mankind, let us remember that the Bible says God gave us the leaf for medicine.”

“This oil-based treatment made from medical Cannibas is helping children across the country to be able to live a more normal life, helping them smile again. How can we deny Georgia children the right to safe and effective treatment,” she said. “Please join me in support of HB 885, and tell Georgia families they have hope!”

HB 885, dubbed “Haleigh’s Hope Act,” is currently in the House Health and Human Services Committee. Recent polls have found that anywhere from 51% to 54% of Georgia voters back medical marijuana. Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta expressed support for legislation that would allow further research of the benefits of cannabis oil.

[UPDATE] Though not included in the statement, Thompson has let us know that Kay Godwin also supports Haleigh’s Hope Act.

51% of Georgians back medical marijuana

A new Insider Advantage/Fox 5 survey finds that a majority of registered voters in Georgia support legalizing marijuana for medical purposes.

According to the survey, 51% of voters in the state would back legislation allowing the use of medical marijuana “in very specific instances,” while just 27% oppose it.

The more interesting aspect of this is that voters from the two major parties aren’t far apart on the issue. The survey found that 53.45% of Democrats and 52.38% of Republicans support legislation allowing for the use of medical marijuana. A plurality of independents, at 47.75%, would support such a measure, while 28.89% would oppose it.

State Sen. Josh McKoon (R-Columbus) called for hearings last week to examine the viability of medical marijuana. House Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge) has indicated that he’s open to the idea of legalizing marijuana for medical purposes. Senate Pro-Tem David Shafer (R-Duluth) has also intimated openness on examining the issue.

The survey also found that 56% of voters oppose legislation that would allow Georgia students to carry a gun on campus for self-defense purposes. Thirty-one percent (31%) back the right-to-carry measure.

The survey of 2,613 registered voters was conducted on Tuesday, January 14. The margin of error is +/- 1.9%.