Delegates at the Third District Republican Convention last weekend overwhelmingly voiced their support for the expansion of Georgia’s laws on cannabis/marijuana-derived medicine, and for allowing the medicine to be produced in Georgia.
A resolution supporting expanding the number of conditions that can be treated with oil containing cannabidiol (CBD), a component of marijuana, and in-state cultivation of cannabis used to make the oil, passed with very little opposition at the convention, held April 16 in Newnan.
The resolution passed on a voice vote. Dale Jackson, Third District chairman for the Georgia Republican Party and a lobbyist for medical cannabis, said there were approximately 200 delegates and he only saw about three ‘no’ votes.
“It was extremely overwhelming,” said Jackson, whose son has autism.
A bill that would expand conditions and allow cultivation was introduced in the Georgia General Assembly this year. All references to cultivation were stripped out early on, and Gov. Nathan Deal came out strongly against cultivation. The bill with expanded conditions overwhelmingly passed the Georgia House, but never got a vote in the Senate.
Autism is one of the conditions included in this year’s bill. It’s not currently legal to treat autism with CBD.
Jackson wasn’t surprised to see the resolution pass so strongly. Polls show more than 70 percent of Georgians are in favor of expanding access to medical cannabis, Jackson said.
He feels support is particularly strong in the Third District, where many of those active in Republican Party politics “know me, know my story. I feel like they have given me the benefit of the doubt,” Jackson said.
“The Republican Party is supposed to stand up for and believe in states rights and in the Tenth Amendment,” Jackson said.
The number-one complaint from Republicans about Obamacare was that “it was the government getting in between a patient and their doctor,” Jackson said.
Georgia’s state government is 100-percent controlled by Republicans. “We now have our state government getting in between my right to choose how to treat my son with autism. And that should go against every Republican principle that we say we stand for,” Jackson said.
Even though CBD is legal for some conditions, it can’t be obtained in Georgia. CBD oil with an extremely low THC content ( 0.3 percent) can be shipped through the mail, but many Georgians can benefit from a higher THC content. State law allows the use of oil with up to 5 percent THC.
“It’s really a travesty, and it’s almost immoral the way our state government has told parents: yes, it’s legal to give your child,” without giving them a way to obtain it legally, Jackson said.
Jackson said he plans to introduce the resolution at the Georgia Republican Convention June 3 and 4.