Georgians want increased access to medical marijuana. A new AJC poll shows that more Georgians than ever, 77 percent to be exact, support changing state laws to allow harvesting and distribution of medical marijuana.
Under a 2015 law, licensed patients can possess up 20 ounces of cannabis oil to treat certain forms of 14 approved illnesses, including AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy. More than 2,500 patients are currently on the registry.
But access is so limited that most of the children and families on the registry struggle to get the marijuana oil they so desperately need. The already limited access is further stunted by federal laws that forbid interstate transport of any drug and by Georgia’s own laws that prohibit growing marijuana, even for medicinal purposes.
Georgians wanting medical marijuana is nothing new. In 2016, 73 percent of Georgians wanted greater access, and last year 71 percent said they wanted greater access. Better Georgia has fought on this issue for years alongside voters from across the political spectrum.
While Gov. Deal tried to take credit for legalizing medical marijuana, the reality is that Deal’s slow crawl to true legalization is not actually providing access to patients who need the medicine. Deal has also put a lot of effort into preventing families from getting the cannabis oil they need, threatening a lawmaker that helped families get oil and saying the federal classification needs to change before anything can be done in Georgia.
Although it would make the lives of so many children and families easier, medical marijuana is not legal in Georgia.