SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) – Medical marijuana is a sizzling matter in Georgia.
Earlier this month, Georgia lawmakers as soon as once more didn’t revamp what many describe because the state’s failed medical marijuana program. In 2015, former Georgia Governor Nathan Deal signed the Haleigh’s Hope Act into legislation, legalizing using hashish oil that incorporates not more than 5% THC. THC is the psychoactive compound in marijuana.
Seven years later, cash and lawsuits are nonetheless holding issues up. The state has not been in a position to determine who will produce the oil, or the place individuals can choose it up. That means, the greater than 22,500 individuals in Georgia’s Low-THC Oil Registry are nonetheless ready for the medicine they’re legally permitted to obtain.
In 2019, the Georgia Normal Meeting handed the “Georgia’s Hope Act,” authorizing the Georgia Entry to Medical Hashish Fee to supervise the regulated licensing of restricted, in-state cultivation, manufacturing, manufacturing, and sale of low-THC oil in addition to allotting to registered sufferers on the state’s registry. Final summer time, the fee awarded licenses to six firms to develop and manufacture the low-THC oil. However, proper after that occurred, one other two-dozen firms that weren’t picked sued the fee, leaving manufacturing at a stand-still.
Military Veteran Andrew Ramey feels Georgia politicians have let individuals in want of the oil down.
“It’s very infuriating, particularly when my authorities is doing nothing to assist me.”
Ramey mentioned he was recognized with PTSD and different bodily illnesses by the point he medically retired from the navy in 2019. Ramey mentioned he proudly served as a helicopter mechanic and crew chief in Afghanistan. He mentioned marijuana helps individuals like him address the trauma they skilled abroad.
“There’s simply so many individuals that it will possibly assist, particularly once you’ve handled lifeless our bodies, individuals dying in your arms. It actually helps,” he mentioned.
State Consultant Invoice Werkheiser (R-Glennville) sponsored one in every of two payments this yr geared toward fast-tracking Georgia’s medical marijuana program. Each payments died within the closing hours of the 2022 legislative session.
“It’s the epitome of huge authorities and the political course of getting in the best way of doing one thing good,” Werkheiser mentioned.
Werkheiser mentioned with the sum of money at stake, the businesses vying for these six spots are going to do no matter they’ll to get permitted for manufacturing.
“It doesn’t matter what we do, we’re inviting lawsuits from the folks that aren’t going to be blissful,” he added.
There’s some hope for change – on the federal stage. Earlier this month, the U.S. Home handed a proposal to legalize marijuana nationwide. However analysts say it faces an uphill climb within the senate. Democrats want 60 votes to go it within the senate.
Pharmacist turned Georgia Congressman Buddy Carter voted towards full legalization.
“I’m in favor of medical marijuana, and using marijuana the place it may be helpful in medicinal functions. I’m adamantly against the leisure use of marijuana,” Carter mentioned.
Ramey mentioned he’s uninterested in the forwards and backwards. He has a message for state and federal lawmakers.
“Fear concerning the individuals. There’s individuals who can actually profit from this plant, and… it’s as much as y’all,” Ramey mentioned.
Simply earlier than this story was printed, WTOC realized that Governor Kemp is appointing a brand new Chair to the state’s Medical Hashish Fee. Kemp’s tapping Sid Johnson to steer the fee going ahead. Johnson’s a school member on the College of Georgia’s Carl Vinson Institute of Authorities.
The Governor additionally introduced he’s directing $150,000 from the Governor’s Emergency Fund to the Medical Hashish Fee. He says the cash must be used to hurry up the protest hearings by the businesses that misplaced their bids to provide medical marijuana oil right here.
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