Like It or Not: Cannabis Oil

Some Georgia lawmakers are threatening to weaken a law that allows sick children and adults to ease their pain with cannabis oil, which is made from marijuana. Either those lawmakers aren’t listening to us, or they don’t care what we think.

Polls show an overwhelming majority of Georgians support the medical cannabis law, passed here two years ago.

And let’s be clear from the outset—this has nothing to do with smoking pot. The oil cannot be smoked. Smoking pot for medical reasons or for recreational reasons is still illegal in Georgia. So what’s the issue?

Our elected officials want to dictate our health care by reducing the amount of THC, the active ingredient in the oil, from 5% to 3%. If you ask me, these Senators are off in the weeds.

Parents, with the help of Representative Allen Peake, worked hard for two years to pass legislation that all parties would accept and the Governor would sign. The oil was approved at 5% for illnesses like seizure disorders, cancer, and Crohn's. Now, Senator Ben Watson wants to roll that back, trimming the THC level to 3% in exchange for allowing autism to be added to the list of eligible illnesses.

He claims that the 5% level has side effects such as nausea and vomiting, hallucinations and delusions. But incredibly, there’s been no public push to reduce the strength of the oil—no complaints from medical doctors, or even law enforcement officials.

This is so typical of our legislators. They give us one thing we ask for, but only so they can distract us long enough to yank away another one of our freedoms. So, what gives?

Most of the Senators involved in this new proposal voted "yes" when the law passed two years ago. Just one of the six sponsors voted "no".

So I’m sure you’re wondering what caused this change of heart? I’ll give you one good guess. 

The sponsor of the bill is a medical doctor, and Renee Unterman, the co-sponsor, is a health care executive at one of the state’s largest Medicaid funding recipients. Another sponsor is an anesthetist. And medical cannabis often conflicts with mainstream healthcare.

I wonder whether these senators know how much their measure would harm Georgia families. Sick adults and parents with sick children who seek to obtain the oil are technically breaking federal law by bringing it here across state lines, from states like Colorado where it’s legal to grow marijuana. This legislation would force parents to travel nearly twice as much to obtain the same amount of oil for their suffering children. 

A number of other southern states have put the amount of THC permissible in the hands of doctors, allowing medical professionals to be actively involved in the effort to ease patients pain and suffering. In Georgia, it’s in the hands of our legislators.

Scary stuff. And they want to control it even further. Changing the existing law would affect all 1,300 Georgians on the registry, a list that is growing every day.

If you agree and don’t want typical politics to manipulate the standing law, contact these state senators (Ben Watson, Renee Unterman, Chuck Hufstetler, Fran Millar, Greg Kirk, Nan Orrock) and let them know you stand with the children. Let them know that you want to see Georgia move forward and you want families to be able to treat their children the way they see fit.

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