The effort to expand Georgia’s medical marijuana law continued Friday to receive pointed criticism, as supporters struggle to gain support from the state’s law enforcement community.
Chuck Spahos, executive director of the Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia, testified during a brief hearing before the House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee that he believes House Bill 722 would too broad and, in some spots, contradictory toward its goal of allowing Georgia manufacturers to grow and cultivate medical marijuana in-state under strict controls.
“No matter what anybody does, it’s still going to be in defiance of federal law,” Spahos said.
The bill, sponsored by state Rep. Allen Peake, R-Macon, would create up to six facilities in Georgia where marijuana would be grown, harvested and processed into cannabis oil. The oil would be used by those who suffer from more than a dozen diseases — a vastly expanded list from what’s currently allowed now.
Lawmakers passed Georgia’s landmark legislation last year allowing Georgians to use a limited form of cannabis oil to treat severe forms of eight illnesses including cancer, Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy.
Hundreds of families are now enrolled in the program, which went live in June when a new state registry began signing up patients. But while state law now makes it legal for those patients to have and use the drug, they must travel to other states to get it, which makes them vulnerable to criminal charges of drug possession in other states.