Although Federal officials said they would expand marijuana growth and research through the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) as well as conduct more research into marijuana’s medicinal properties, the fact remains that marijuana still banned. According to the DEA, marijuana remains a Schedule I drug, in the same class as heroin and LSD. Drugs that are labeled Schedule I are considered to be highly dangerous and addictive, with no medicinal attributes.
Former governor of Washington State, Christine Gregoire, called this decision “totally out of touch with the Justice Department, current research, the medical profession, patients and the public.” Washington State’s own marijuana laws have been evolving over the last 10 years. The state now boasts legal recreational and medicinal marijuana as well as leading medicinal marijuana research.
Georgia could clearly learn a thing or two from Washington. Although medical marijuana was legalized in Georgia about a year ago, there is still no plan as to how residents with the relevant medical conditions can get access. Many Georgia activists feel that further steps need to be taken.
Blaine and Shannon Cloud are pro-legalization advocates and the parents of a child with a seizure condition treatable by cannabis oil. They say that in order for Georgians to get access to cannabis oil, “…parents and patients are having to either travel across the country and smuggle their medicine back home several times a year, or buy marijuana here illegally and make their own oil in their kitchens, with no idea whether it’s safe.” This is one of the reasons that the Clouds believe state-wide access to medical marijuana could have a huge impact on Georgia.
“We definitely applaud the NIDA decision to lift the monopoly on marijuana available for research, so hopefully more research can be done in the future,” Blaine Cloud said of the federal decision. “But with it still listed as Schedule I, the many departmental approvals needed and barriers in place are still a tremendous obstacle to anyone wanting to do that research here in the U.S.”
“Until we have a locally available, safe, lab-tested product that our doctors can work with… Georgians will continue to suffer,” Cloud concluded.