Georgia’s dip into the uncharted waters of medical cannabis reform leaves its patients confused, exposed, and bewildered…how will they acquire their medicine, and who can legally supply them?
Since Georgia will NOT tax or regulate a system of providers, Georgians will have to rely on Colorado based companies like Ultra CBD, who will happily ship to all 50 states, sighting a loop-hole in federal law that negates certain cannabis oils from federal prosecution. But there’s a catch to those businesses. The ones willing to ship across state lines are probably not peddling high quality product. The FDA discovered that many of the products do not contain the advertised compounds. The medical cannabis community agrees that this kind of product, is not as effective for treating epilepsy or pain management as medical-grade cannabis oil. By Georgia’s legislature not regulating and taking control of the potential industry, they will have no control over the well being of the states’ patients, who will be forced to take extraordinary measures, such as traveling to foreign states like Colorado to procure the product in person and then either smuggling it back across state lines or sending it through USPS, which according to The Leaf “the rate of intercepted packages alone has risen over 20% by the end of 2013 to 2,622 arrests…of this number, 68% were for cannabis.” Nevertheless, Denver residents will still emerge the victors, reaping the economic benefits that will come with Georgia tiptoeing into the legalization process. However, Gov. Nathan Deal declared, “for the families enduring separation and patients suffering from pain, the wait is finally over.”
This announcement pushed many people to the conclusion that Georgia had actually made a legitimate step forward, but the law leaves patients open to federal prosecution by requiring patients to commit federal drug trafficking crimes. Not to mention the thousands of patients who do not have one of the qualifying conditions, but who might be eligible for medical cannabis recommendations in other medical-only states. Among the conditions covered in the bill are cancer, Crohn’s disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease, mitochondrial disease, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, seizure disorders, and sickle cell anemia. Georgia state senator, Curt Thompson, referred to the bill as “window dressing,” because, “once you draft a bill that nobody will object to, you have drafted a bill that will do nothing.”