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.”
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.