Legislation to allow for the in-state cultivation of a non-euphoric form of medical marijuana was neutered by a House committee this week, stripping the bill’s marquee provision and instead only expanding the number of conditions whose sufferers may qualify for treatment.
The General Assembly last year approved the use of cannabis oil, a marijuana derivative, for the treatment of a handful of acute medical conditions. But because that legislation stopped short of greenlighting in-state cultivation, those wishing to use the substance must risk violating federal law that prohibits the transportation of the oil across state lines.
State Rep. Allen Peake, who muscled “Haleigh’s Hope Act” through the legislature last year, had hoped to clear that final hurdle this session, but the House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee gutted the provision on Monday.
The bill faced opposition from Governor Nathan Deal and law enforcement groups, who testified against it in committee hearings earlier this month.
Peake, who is favored to win reelection from his middle Georgia district, told reporters that he intends to reintroduce the legislation next year.
A federal judge on Tuesday denied a petition by a handful of voting and civil rights groups to block Georgia and three other states from requiring new voters demonstrate citizenship.
The Georgia NAACP and the League of Women Voters had sought an injunction to prevent the four states—Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, and Kansas—from using new voter registration forms that require proof of citizenship. The policy had been previously approved by federal officials at the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, an independent agency created in 2002.
U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon denied the group’s requests for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction, writing that the plaintiffs had failed to demonstrate the new policy would cause “irreparable harm.”
“Given that the registration deadlines for the Alabama and Georgia primaries and for the Kansas Republican Caucus had already passed at the time this TRO motion was filed … and that the effects of [the federal] actions on the ongoing registration process for the Kansas Democratic Caucus and the plaintiffs’ rights and efforts thereto are uncertain at best, plaintiffs have not demonstrated they will suffer irreparable harm before the hearing on their Motion for a Preliminary Injunction,” Leon wrote in a Tuesday order.
The judge set that hearing for March 9, a week after Georgia voters will head to the polls in the state’s presidential primary.
The primary super PAC supporting Hillary Clinton this week launched a significant radio advertising and direct mail campaign to lift the former secretary of state ahead of Georgia’s March 1 presidential primary.
Priorities USA Action, established in the last presidential contest to support the reelection of President Barack Obama but retooled within the last year to support Clinton, has purchased $389,000 worth of radio time across the state and spent another $164,000 on a direct mail campaign, according to federal disclosures.
The 60-second spot features Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, one of Obama’s most visible surrogates in 2012 bid, who says voters can trust Clinton because the president did. Listen after the fold.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton went on the air Monday in Georgia with a new television advertisement with a targeted appeal to the state’s black community.
The 30-spot spot, narrated by actor Morgan Freeman, portrays Clinton as an ally to the Black Lives Matter movement and a steward of President Barack Obama’s legacy.
“She says their names and makes their mothers’ fight for justice her own,” Freeman says as audio of Clinton is overlaced. “She speaks for a city poisoned by indifference and stands with the president against those who would undo his achievements.”
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich put the blame on Fox News for Donald Trump’s meteoric rise in the Republican presidential contest, telling the network’s morning news and talk crew that it had “invented” the brash billionaire’s candidacy.
“Donald Trump gets up in the morning, tweets to the entire planet at no cost, picks up the hone, calls you, has a great conversation for about eight minutes—which would have cost him a ton in commercial money—and meanwhile, his opponents are all out there trying to raise the money to run an ad,” Gingrich said Monday morning on Fox & Friends.
Host Brian Kilmeade countered that the frequency of Trump’s appearances was a function of the candidate’s willingness to appear, whereas more mainstream Republicans, like former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, have proven more reticent.
Gingrich fired back: “Look, you could say that Trump is the candidate Fox & Friends invented. He was on your show, I think, more than any other show.”
“Every Monday,” cohost Steve Doocy added.
Watch the full exchange after the jump.
Congressional Republicans will huddle later this week to open consideration of next year’s federal budget, upping the pressure on Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price to find increasingly narrow consensus between the Republican conference’s warring fiscal and deficit hawks.
Rep. Price, a Marietta Republican, has sketched out a spending blueprint in line with discretionary spending levels agreed to last year in concert with President Barack Obama, but would include several deficit reduction mechanisms the broader conference and Congress could adopt, a committee aide told reporters Monday.
Fiscal year 2016’s budget touched off a heated debate among Republicans: some wanted dramatic, immediate cuts to spending across the board while defense hawks insisted that expanded resources must be directed to the Pentagon.
When the General Assembly decriminalized cannabis oil last month for the treatment of a handful of acute medical conditions, lawmakers stopped short of allowing the marijuana derivative to be locally cultivated and produced — which means those qualifying patients wishing to use the substance must risk purchasing the extract elsewhere and trafficking it through states in which it remains illegal.
Because the oil contains low levels of THC, the euphoric chemical responsible for marijuana’s psychological effects, it may be shipped from out of state. However, it remains a federal crime to transport cannabis oil across state lines, so those Georgians whose conditions require higher levels of THC than those permissible to be shipped must risk breaking the law.
But on Tuesday Gov. Nathan Deal appointed state Rep. Allen Peake—who muscled “Haleigh’s Hope Act,” named for a 5-year-old Forsyth girl with a severe form of epilepsy, through the state legislature—to chair a special state commission to explore in-state production models for the oil.
The panel will deliver recommendations to the governor on how best to foster local production while not also fostering the recreational use of marijuana.
The legislation’s champion in the upper chamber, state Sen. Renee Unterman, and Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black were also tapped for the commission.