ATLANTA, GA — With Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signing legislation Thursday making Illinois the 20th state in the nation to legalize medical marijuana, activists in Georgia say they want to be the next state to consider reform legislation, and have published a report on how to achieve their goals.

James Bell, director for Georgia Campaign for Access, Reform & Education (Georgia C.A.R.E.), said Georgia is ready to consider historic legislation allowing for medical marijuana.

In a seven page report entitled “A Guide to Enacting Medical Marijuana in Georgia,” Georgia CARE outlines the steps the southern state must take to remove criminal penalties, allow doctors to recommend therapeutic use and provide for a legal and safe source of medical marijuana.

“We believe the people of Georgia will support our efforts to allow patients with serious medical conditions to use marijuana under doctor’s supervision. We’re ready to take our plan to state lawmakers”, Bell said.  “In 1980, Georgia was one of the first states in the nation to pass a compassionate medical marijuana law. We believe Georgia lawmakers are no less compassionate today. We should not treat patients like criminals.”

FROM THE REPORT: Four key principles for effective Georgia medical marijuana laws

  1. Define what is a legitimate medical use of marijuana by requiring a person who seeks legal protection to (a) have a medical condition that is sufficiently serious or debilitating, and (b) have the approval of his or her medical practitioner;
  2. Avoid provisions that would require physicians or government employees to violate federal law in order for patients to legally use medical marijuana;
  3. Provide at least one of the following means of obtaining marijuana, preferably all three: (a) permit patients to cultivate their own marijuana; (b) permit primary caregivers to cultivate marijuana on behalf of patients; and (c) authorize nongovernmental organizations to cultivate and distribute marijuana to patients and their primary caregivers.
  4. Implement a series of sensible restrictions, such as prohibiting patients and providers from possessing large quantities of marijuana, prohibiting driving while under the influence of marijuana, and so forth.

Georgia CARE is working with a diverse coalition of groups and individuals dedicated to educating the public, media and legislators concerning the medical marijuana issue, and is seeking legislative sponsorship for the 2014 legislative session.

The group is also hosting a symposium on Cannabis Therapeutics at EmoryUniversity in January 2014.

For more information about sensible marijuana reform in Georgia, visit  www.gacareproject.com.

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