More than 100 Georgia families say they are willing to face federal drug trafficking prosecution in a show of mass civil disobedience after a House committee gutted legislation that would have allowed for in-state cultivation of a non-euphoric form of medical marijuana.
The General Assembly last year approved the use of cannabis oil, a marijuana derivative with low levels of THC, for the treatment of a handful of acute medical conditions. But because that legislation stopped short of green lighting in-state cultivation, those wishing to use the substance must risk violating federal law that prohibits the transportation of the oil across state lines.
Republican Rep. Allen Peake, who muscled the initial legalization proposal through the General Assembly last year, introduced legislation this session that would regulate the growth and production of the substance within the state.
But the House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee stripped the marquee provision from the bill on Monday and instead moved only to expand the list of conditions whose sufferers qualify for treatment.
Now, parents who say their children desperately require access to the treatment are willing to be arrested in protest of the bill’s demise.
“Cultivation is the only thing that gives everybody and equal footing, and it’s fair and equitable to the entire state – not just the well-connected, not just those that have protection from lawmakers,” Dale Jackson, whose seven-year-old son is severely autistic, told Atlanta NBC affiliate WXIA. “We’re sick and tired of it. And today is the day the governor is going to have to answer the question, ‘Am I willing to allow Georgian citizens to risk breaking federal law, publically? ‘Am I going to stand up as governor to protect these families against the feds?’
“Is he willing to deal with that storm coming upon his state?” Jackson asked. “Because we are prepared, with over a hundred families that are willing to go public with this, across the entire state of Georgia. We are not playing around.”
An Atlanta church is urging passersby on one of the city’s busiest streets not to support controversial religious liberty legislation, calling the measure an “affront to the Gospel.”
St. Mark United Methodist Church, situated along Peachtree street in midtown Atlanta, devoted its sign Tuesday to join the debate raging in the General Assembly over the First Amendment Defense Act, which was passed last week by the state Senate and now awaits final consideration by the House.
“Legalized discrimination is an affront to the Gospel,” the church’s street-facing sign reads.
An Atlanta church situated on one of the city's busiest streets uses its sign to join religious liberty debate. pic.twitter.com/L0WbJO0WzO
— Georgia Tipsheet (@GeorgiaTipsheet) February 23, 2016
The owner of a Georgia-based telecommunications startup says he is relocating his firm in protest of the state Senate’s approval last week of the First Amendment Defense Act.
Kelvin Williams said the decision to uproot his company, 373k, was in direct response to the General Assembly’s consideration of the controversial religious liberty proposal.
The bill, which must now be approved by the House of Representatives, would empower individuals and not-for-profits to refuse service if it conflicts with their sincerely held religious beliefs. Critics of the measure say it would give licenses to discriminate against gays and lesbians, and also unmarried couples and single mothers.
“That’s just something that we can’t live with,” Williams told Atlanta ABC affiliate WSB. Watch the interview after the jump.
One of the flashiest sectors of Georgia’s economy is mobilizing with new urgency after the passage last week of a controversial religious liberty proposal in the state Senate that critics maintain would enable discrimination.
The new front in the continued legal battle over same-sex marriage, the Georgia General Assembly has been weighing some eight proposals this session that would in some way grant safe harbor to opponents of the freedom to marry. In several instances, the legislation would give explicit license to deny service to gays and lesbians and even single mothers, according to legal analysts.
On Friday, the Senate approved legislation combining two proposals, the Pastor Protection Act and First Amendment Defense Act. The combined bill awaits final approval by the House of Representatives.
Now, the entertainment industry, among the state tax code’s most nurtured sectors, is warning that Georgia’s close-up will soon cut.
“This very assembly working on this bill has invested billions of taxpayer dollars growing an industry that would leave this state,” Brian Tolleson, the president of Atlanta-based entertainment firm Bark Bark, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “They will boycott coming to shoot anything here.”
Rick Allen, the Augusta businessman who earlier this month defeated Democratic Rep. John Barrow in the twelfth congressional district, quietly revealed in a Friday interview was diagnosed in January with Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Allen’s admission came only days after the conclusion of his high-profile bout with Barrow, who himself disclosed in 2011 that he had been diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer.
WJBF, the ABC affiliate in Augusta, broke the news in its Nov. 14 evening broadcast by anchor Brad Means, who said he spoke with the congressman-elect about his cancer diagnosis and treatment. The segment includes silent footage of an interview with Allen, though the Republican’s health admission is relayed only through an anchor voice over.
“I talked to Congressman-elect Rick Allen today and he told me that his doctor found a spot during a routine colonscopy back in January,” Means aid. “Well that turned out to be Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The doctor removed it right there during the colonosopy, and two subsequent scans showed the cancer was gone. The doctor told him he was cancer free as of June.”
That segment didn’t make its way onto the network’s website and ran only once more the following morning, according to a review by a media monitoring firm. None of the district’s newspapers, including the conservative Augusta Chronicle, whose editorial board endorsed Allen and has long-been a thorn in the side of Barrow, covered the news.
WATCH below the fold.
Michelle Nunn may not want Georgia gun owners to know it, but Michael Bloomberg has taken the title anyways.
With a $350,000 donation to Georgians Together, a super PAC supporting …