Pubdate: Sun, 24 Apr 2016
Source: Times-Herald (GA)
Copyright: 2016 The Times-Herald
Author: Sarah Fay Campbell


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.
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