Pubdate: Thu, 06 Mar 2014
Source: Macon Telegraph (GA)
Copyright: 2014 The Macon Telegraph Publishing Company
Author: Maggie Lee


ATLANTA -- The federal barriers between Georgians and an epilepsy
medicine made from cannabis are so insurmountable that the Macon
representative who is championing the cause plans to propose licensing
nonprofit dispensaries in Georgia.

"I'm going to provide that as an option to include in our next draft
of the bill," said state Rep. Allen Peake, R-Macon, if a Senate
committee hears his House Bill 885 by a key legislative deadline Wednesday.

Peake won nearly universal House support for his original bill, which
said that Georgia's medical research universities could grow a type of
cannabis that's high in cannabidiol, or CBD, and make liquid epilepsy
medicine from it. Such CBD-rich liquids are nonhallucinogenic and are
already used in Britain and Colorado to treat children who have
intractable, severe epilepsy disorders.

But he and other bill supporters admitted that they do not have a
clear path for getting Georgians something the federal government says
is forbidden.

Growing an illegal substance could jeopardize universities' federal
funding, so they are not likely to take that chance. Colorado cannot
export any marijuana products. The British medicine is available only
in very small U.S. trials. And though the federal government
cultivates some research cannabis, it's not a high-CBD variety.

It's all those dead ends, Peake said, that drove him to the nonprofit
dispensary model used in other medical marijuana states.

He emphasized that his dispensary idea speaks only to a licensed,
nonprofit entity growing CBD-rich cannabis and synthesizing liquid
medicine. Any patients would still face the same controls in his
original bill: approval through a research university and supervision
by a doctor.

"It would have to be a (nonprofit) business whose sole purpose is to
provide relief for children and citizens who need cannabidiol oil," he

"I think it's probably worth having some discussion at the

He needs approval from the Senate Health and Human Services Committee
by Wednesday in order to try for full legislative passage by March 20,
the last scheduled working day of the year.
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