One of the leading advocates in Georgia for medical marijuana is headed to Cleveland this month on a crusade to convince other delegates to the Republican National Convention to endorse medical marijuana as part of the party's platform.
Dale Jackson is the chair of the Third District GOP in west Georgia and the father of an autistic son who relies on cannabis oil for treatment. He’s planning on arriving in Cleveland early to ratchet up the talks he’s had over the last month with other delegates.
"Our hope is that we'll be successful on getting a statement of support on medical marijuana on the platform," said Jackson, one of Georgia's 76 delegates to the meeting. "That's my focus and my main objective in attending the national convention. And I'm looking to do everything possible to make that happen."
Jackson pulled together a resolution at the Georgia GOP that supported "in-state access" of cannabis oil and allow patients suffering from a range of additional medical conditions to qualify for the drug. But he faces a tougher task getting the resolution on the national ticket.
Presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump has said he supports legalizing medical marijuana and giving states leeway to set their own policies, and more than two dozen states allow some sort of medicinal pot. But many conservative politicians are still leery of a broader expansion.
Either way, Jackson aims to help state Rep. Allen Peake and other lawmakers expand Georgia's fledgling medical marijuana program. Georgia law allows some patients to possess cannabis oil with a doctor's permission but doesn't permit the in-state cultivation of the plant.
And Jackson is among the parents openly flouting federal law by traveling to Colorado and other states that have legalized marijuana to bring back the drug for their children.
“I’m a law-abiding citizen who is forced to commit a felony every single day and other families are forced to commit those same felonies just to care for their children,” he told delegates at Georgia’s GOP convention.
“Most of us here would, in principle, disagree with legalizing drugs. But this resolution speaks specifically to medicine – medicine that my 8-year-old son needs.”
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