Medical marijuana advocates fuming over Georgia PTSD bill
Updated 5:57 pm, Monday, March 19, 2018
ATLANTA (AP) — Medical marijuana advocates expressed outrage Monday over the apparent stalling of a proposal that would expand Georgia’s medical cannabis oil program to include those with post-traumatic stress disorder or chronic, intractable pain.
Members of the Georgia’s Hope advocacy group held a news conference inside the state Capitol and questioned why the bill, which passed the House overwhelmingly last month, hasn’t gotten a Senate committee hearing.
Rep. David Clark, the bill’s sponsor, accused Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, a leading Republican gubernatorial candidate and the president of the Senate, of “playing politics” and stifling the proposal by instead calling for another study committee on medical marijuana. He and other lawmakers who support the measure joined the news conference.
“This is what, our third study committee? I think we have enough evidence from the states that have passed this to know that it’s helping people,” Clark, a Buford Republican and Army veteran, told The Associated Press after the news conference.
Those suffering from PTSD who have access to cannabis oil are less likely to turn to highly addictive opioid painkillers, Clark said.
There are currently nearly 4,000 Georgians who are legally allowed to have low-THC cannabis oil, although many have complained that it’s difficult to get access to it because it cannot be cultivated in the state, Rep. Allen Peake said.
In a statement, Cagle said he has supported previous legislation that expanded cannabis oil access. He also said he wants the study committee to examine how to make the medication more accessible to those with prescriptions.
“I’m committed to supporting responsible legislation that ensures Georgians who can benefit from this medication have safe, secure and reliable access,” Cagle said.
Sen. Renee Unterman is the chairwoman of the