Posted: 3:14 pm Monday, March 24th, 2014

Nathan Deal: Georgia ‘needs to address’ medical marijuana fix 

By Greg Bluestein

The effort to legalize limited use of medical marijuana petered out in the legislative session’s final hours last week amid infighting between Republicans over an unrelated bill to mandate autism coverage for children.

Now Gov. Nathan Deal says he’s exploring an executive order or other steps that could allow Georgia families to use cannabis oil to treat certain seizure disorders until legislators return to Atlanta next year.

House Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge) talks with Haleigh and Janea Cox on Monday afternoon March 3, 2014, after the House passed a bill that would allow the use of a certain type of oil derived from marijuana for the treatment of seizures like the ones Haleigh has.

The House and Senate passed different bills legalizing the use of medical marijuana, but the two GOP-led chambers couldn’t reach an accord.

Deal, who has tread warily on the issue, told reporters Monday that some sort of administrative action on medical marijuana is “on my radar screen.” Said the governor:

“All of us were moved by the families and the children that were involved with the medical marijuana bill and I certainly think that all of us want to try to figure out if there’s something we can do to provide them with the kind of assistance they need. …

I will be talking with all of our state agencies who have any kind of involvement in dealing with that issue to see if there is something we can do to make this treatment possible, assuming that the proper foundation of law enforcement security and medical protections are attached.”

The legislation was designed to allow Georgia families to treat the disorders that cause hundreds of seizures a day and often lead to death. The cannabis oil that would have been legalized is harvested from the marijuana plant but does not create the high that recreational use of marijuana produces.

In the backdrop are concerns from Republicans that the refusal to pass the measure will hurt the GOP in November. Republican state Sen. Fran Millar angrily declared, “We did nothing for kids, but we passed a gun bill.” And Democrat Jason Carter, his party’s nominee for the top job, said the failures and infighting were the result of “visionless” leadership.

Deal said Monday he’s not sure if administrative changes or other executive action will do the trick, but he said it’s “something the state of Georgia needs to address.”

It’s no easy prospect, especially for a Republican in an election-year fight who could be testing federal drug restrictions. But state Rep. Allen Peake, the effort’s GOP sponsor, said it is worth the risk.

“I’m going to support any initiative that helps get this done,” said Peake, R-Macon. “If it takes an executive order from the governor, by God we ought to be doing it.”

100 comments
truthwarrior
truthwarrior

This is disgusting. Very disappointed in this state and in those pushing the so-called need for medical marijuana. Besides, there is already Marinol that's available to the medical community. More than this is not needed and besides, there is no real scientific evidence that supports the medical benefits of medical marijuana. Although HB 885 was tabled because the senate and house could not agree, the entire GA Senate, including my own representative voted for this as did most of the GA House, including my representative as well. What about the voters who put them in office expecting them to focus on other more major issues than this, including those of us who worked hard to help support Nathan Deal's election as governor? I voted for him because he was purportedly to be tough on crime. This would only make things more difficult for our law enforcement. Instead our senate, house and governor should focus on the campaign promises for more jobs and helping our failing schools. The Left for years have used the medical marijuana excuse to usher in full-blown marijuana legalization. Fran Milar is a Facebook friend who I have never met and who I will be removing from my list of friends because he and others seem to think that our taxpayer dollars and representatives' time should be wasted on this, instead of focusing on more critical issues such as keeping campaign promises to help bring in jobs to GA, help our failing schools and critical issues such as reigning in crime, and addressing the problem of our roads and traffic, that was very apparent this past winter, at the same time that HB 885 was being pushed through. Why the push? Is the Left and are the Libertarians pushing this, that, for years, has been a well-known agenda pushed by George Soros related groups as a means to pushing through full legalization of marijuana, that many pro-legalization websites have acknowledged the best way to legalize is to first push through medical marijuana. Perhaps this push is also being driven by pro-legalization Libertarians who have joined with the Republican Party as well as some of the Libertarian leaning Tea Party or AFP groups that have sometimes had a similarly related viewpoint. Getting a response to my letter regarding my extreme concern about bringing in Medical Marijuana to Georgia has not yet received a response. I just spoke with James Beal in Constituent Services who stated they just gave him a message from me but not my entire letter. I wonder why? Although he stated he would pass my letter on this time, I called back and asked another aide to please be sure it does reach the governor.  Sounds to me like there is definitely an agenda to push this through by the Left, whether on the outside, or in the party, and not to forget that several of the sponsors of this bill claim to be "Republicans", as well as other representatives who have claimed to be "conservative" but who, in my opinion, evidently are not, or at the very least have caved to pressure by the Left or lack discernment on this very important issue that can affect all of our families and children, instead of just a few emotional examples that have drawn them to vote in favor of it, without looking at all of the negative consequences that can result from their having caved to the louder voices out their and pressure from the above mentioned groups pushing this agenda. I urge any true conservatives who are also concerned about this to please let their voices be known, because the Left's very vocal and focused agenda pushing this bill, be it Tea Party or other, needs to be balanced by true conservative voices on this issue for the overall good of Georgia and its families and children.

JoseGonzales
JoseGonzales

The zombies of Satan under the gold dome would rather have a pile of bloody babies than to let them have holy marijuana oil.  Georgians are under a curse that is revenge for losing the Civil War.


JoseGonzales
JoseGonzales

What is Nathan Deal waiting for, a street car?


Laloha@
Laloha@

I guess this state is so wealthy they couldn't use the revenue this drug would give us. I guess they don't need to treat other illnesses; lets just put our little toe in the water to start with and not treat PTSD, GLAUCOMA, MIGRAINES, etc. . Why do our legislators have to be so controlling over us citizens who elect them. It's so obvious how this would help everyone and yet we are afraid to jump in the water. Let the citizens decide send out a poll and reveal what we want for a change!

JoseGonzales
JoseGonzales

The purpose of medical marijuana was to prove that the government was lying when they said it had no medical uses.  After decades of government fraud, the need to prove medical application has long passed.


It's time now to legalize marijuana like alcohol.  There was never an amendment to the Constitution like there was for alcohol.  Why does Governor Deal want to reward a small group of parents and turn his back on the hard working tax payer who wants to smoke a little marijuana at home on Saturday night?


mrob
mrob

''The Mind that lies fallow but a single Day, sprouts up in Follies that are only to be killed by a constant and assiduous Culture.'' --Joseph Addison (1672-1719)

Vote Democrat! 

 "Red states are dangerous states with lawmakers equally dangerous to enact dangerous laws to drive home a point to exhibit conservatism'---mrob

GraceD
GraceD

If Gov. Deal can get this passed by Executive Order, then do so. That is how Pres. Obama has had to act in the face of a republican House that only wants to say "no" & do nothing constructive!

Ga legislators told us "loud & clear" what is important to them. And it is not the people of Ga. on who's backs these "Neanderthals." ride.

I do hope that Deal can accomplish this. It does say a little about him. Not much tho, when you look at the 600,000 plus he has denied health care too! 

Too little , too late. Time to turn Ga. Blue.

ImmortalIllumined
ImmortalIllumined

the greatest plant in the universe is almost free, LET FREEDOM RING! 13


Senator Kimberly Yee of Arizona (republican) is denying a marijuana research bill for vetarans, she should be jailed


"any doctor against marijuana is a doctor of death" - cali secret 420


from 0 states to half the country, from low 20% approval to almost 70%, cali runs this planet by 2 decades, time to tie marijuana to the 2014, 2016 elections, out with the old, in with the new


20 years behind us southern states, sad and scary....nobody denies freedoms like the south, nobody…the top ten incarcerators on the planet are southern states...even if marijuana reforms did pass the republiCANTS in charge would deny you all your freedoms, centuries of practice...no matter though, we never planned on getting your backwards brethren from day one, half the country already but not one southern state, lol...not 1….my turn, I gave you 20 years, watch and learn


Deaths by Alcohol and Tobacco: Millions

Deaths by Prescription Drugs: Quadrupled in last decade

Deaths by Guns: Millions

Deaths by Marijuana: 0, ever...they are killing my American family while denying freedom


love and freedom forever


AMERICA'S WAR ON DRUGS IS A WAR ON AMERICANS! 33

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

Regarding political spending which probably affects the results of Georgia's legislative body and the bills passed, as a result of the composition of our legislature, i.e. 38% ALEC member Republicans:


Robert Reich: "I debated a Koch-apologist yesterday who claimed America's unions funneled more into politics than the Koch brothers. Baloney. Union money at least comes from large numbers of workers seeking higher pay and better working conditions; Koch money comes from two brothers seeking to entrench their power and privilege. And it's clear the Koch brothers are spending way more. In 2012, union spending (PAC, individual, outside) totaled less than $153.5 million, while Koch spending totaled $412.6 million."


https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=765864106759521&set=a.404595876219681.103599.142474049098533&type=1&theater


Joeleejohnson
Joeleejohnson

Greg's stuff today above my pay grade. 

But Mary 'Liz's opine is also above her "pay grade"-----

  ----To say the first step is to reclaim something all

      the founding fathers viewed with disdain is a 

      dead give away that she's way out in 'left field".

Mitchellbrooks
Mitchellbrooks

The best thing the governor could do at this point would be to call a press conference and explain in no uncertain terms the concept of "jury nullification" to the good citizens of GA.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

Robert Reich writes in "Get the Money Out of Politics," the following:


"The first step toward reforming our economy is to reclaim our democracy. And the first step toward reclaiming our democracy is to get big money out of politics. Free markets don't exist in a state of nature; the market is organized and enforced by rules emanating from legislatures, courts, and agencies. But if the wealthy and large corporations have disproportionate power to set those rules, the game will always be rigged in their favor, and equal opportunity will be a cruel hoax."


https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=766829736662958&set=a.404595876219681.103599.142474049098533&type=1&theater

Bernie31
Bernie31

Governor " I Do not Care about The Poor & Needy" has the Nerve to speak out on a Healthcare Matter fix....NOW ain't that RICH?

uh...huh.

SouthGeorgiareader
SouthGeorgiareader

While he's at it, the Governor needs to call the Legislature back into session and start over.  What a waste the 2014 session was for citizens----no cannabis oil treatment law, no actual relief for public schools, no expansion of Medicaid, shortening early voting days, putting a Constitutional question on the ballot to cap the income tax rate at 6% (which would help only wealthy taxpayers), and allowing guns in many public places, including public schools.  We're in a sad condition in a state that's now led by greed, ego, and power gone mad!

Senator Fran Millar
Senator Fran Millar

Jim, I believe my quote as reported in your newspaper was I am afraid it will be perceived we passed a gun bill and did nothing for kids. Reads a little different.

Ralph-43
Ralph-43

Would somebody please cite a published peer-reviewed paper demonstrating the medical benefits of this proposed therapy.  Not an uncontrolled anecdote ("she had a seizure so I gave her marijuana and she didn't have any more seizures"), but a published scientific evaluation (go to the National Library of Medicine and review the literature - Pub Med).  Nobody is trying to withhold therapy but would like to protect people from expensive crack-pot therapy that appears to be expanding and has not be evaluated for true effectiveness and long term toxicity including overdose and death.

truthwarrior
truthwarrior

Since I do not see an edit function, please note my Typ-o correction to my second to the last sentence that I am not sure how else to edit: the correct spelling should be "there" instead of "their" for the phrase, "...to the louder voices out there..."

Laloha@
Laloha@

Because our officials cannot agree it makes us weak in the face of the world. This is the reason n. Korea and Russia are doing as they please . We are showing a breakdown in our government. This detente of Republicans vs Democrats is crippling our nations progress. Georgia government could show the nation for once that we can be progressive and we can make big decisions as well as small together and stop this infighting. Be proactive and pass laws that make sense. Marijuana is good for many things not just seizures, JUST DO IT.

JoseGonzales
JoseGonzales

@GraceD If he was going to do it, he would have already done it.  He is just a bunch of hot air getting to step aside when Jason Carter takes office and issues the executive order on day one.

Charles50
Charles50

@GraceD  Grace don't pat him on the back toom much.  He would only do this because it's an election year.  

td1234
td1234

@MaryElizabethSings  What is the solution? Government supported elections? Only rich people can run for office because they are the ones that can afford it? 

mrob
mrob

@MaryElizabethSings  

I have to agree with Robert. It will be extremely hard to do that when you have dangerous christian organizations and dangerous corporation executives giving dangerous lawmakers bad money to politically highjack the rights of the middle class and poor Americans.

GraceD
GraceD

@SouthGeorgiareader , That is a great idea!! Call for a new secession an actually have them do something constructive.!

Andy123
Andy123

@SouthGeorgiareader

A Republican governor and a Republican majority in the legislature did all those right of center things this session?  Who would have guessed? 

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@SouthGeorgiareader


Not to mention the influence of ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council), the conservative organization that links CEOs of national corporations to legislators in state legislatures across the country. Ninety of Georgia's state legislators are ALEC members (or 38% of Georgia's legislative body). All of these ALEC legislators in Georgia are Republicans.


www.alecexposed.org

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@Ralph-43


I don't have what you request, Ralph, but I recommend that you see the excellent broadcast, "Weed," on CNN by Dr. Sanjay Gupta, brain surgeon at Emory and CNN medical expert. Gupta cites medical evidence through various studies of the benefit of marijuana to some childhood seizures and some tumors, like brain tumors, as well as Parkinson's Disease, I believe.

honested
honested

@td1234 @MaryElizabethSings 

Several Civilized countries have taxpayer financed elections.

In what universe does a pile of money (whether earned, stolen or inherited) qualify anyone to hold sway over another?

SouthGeorgiareader
SouthGeorgiareader

@MaryElizabethSings @SouthGeorgiareader

You're correct!  ALEC is calling the shots in many state legislatures and is a heavy influence in Georgia.  If ALEC continues in this way, the middle class and poor will continue to lose in our state and across the country.

Ralph-43
Ralph-43

@MaryElizabethSings Thanks.  I respect Dr. Gupta and I think he has contributed significantly to an honest appraisal of many subjects, but I did not hear him cite the kind of randomized, well-controlled study that would provide the scientific information needed to convince an FDA Study Section regarding this 'medicine'.  I remember that marijuana was touted as a 'great' relief of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, but a randomized trial demonstrated that it actually made many patients worse. An oral tablet, Nabilone is still available but I don't think anybody uses it.  New medicines were developed that were effective and safe.  I know that 'medical marijuana' is being widely sold in many states - but during my travels the discussion is associated with a smirk and a reference to 'relaxation' and 'no cares'.  This may be a medical benefit, in and of itself, but I think we need randomized trials - double-blind, placebo vs. marijuana - for both long term toxicity (lung damage, cancer, lowered I.Q., etc.) and true effectiveness for the specific disease being treated.

EdUktr
EdUktr

@MaryElizabethSings @honested  

Last night must have been a particularly rough night for Mary Elizabeth, what with ALEC hiding under her bed and constantly tormenting her.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@honested


ALEC has had secrecy around its doings for decades.  It was organized 40 years ago and has been funded by the Koch Brothers, among others. ALEC's doings were exposed about three years ago by Bill Moyers, among others ("The United States of ALEC," video by Moyers). I do no think that members of Georgia's General Assembly will "openly" discuss what they are doing, because that has not been ALEC's modus operandi, nor the Koch Brothers' means to success with changing the nature of our democracy. 


Knowledge is the key.  We cannot deny what is a threat to this nation and to this state's serving all of its citizens well.  We do not want to become an oligarchy, serving the interests of mainly the super wealthy elite. 


The knowledge I can provide for you is a listing of the 90 ALEC members in Georgia's Legislature.  See the link below.  Follow their bills sponsored each legislative session. Write about the connections, as I do, for public awareness. Vote these ALEC members out of office.  A key member of Georgia's Legislature who is an ALEC member (and on ALEC's Education Task Force) is Speaker Pro Tem Jan Jones, Republican representative from Alpharetta, who sponsored the bill which became the Special Charter School Constitutional Amendment a year or two ago.


For the other members of ALEC in Georgia's Legislature, see this link: 
http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Georgia_ALEC_Politicians  


honested
honested

@EdUktr @MaryElizabethSings@SouthGeorgiareader 

Get the ALEC members in the General Assembly to openly discuss their involvement with the group, interactions on 'sample bills' and degree of pre-paid 'meetings' they have attended.

Artificially diminishing one of the greatest threats in our time does not make it any less dangerous.

RickDDay
RickDDay

@Ralph-43 @MaryElizabethSings  Ralph, everyone wants those studies including those who want to study. Politics and the law have been designed to discourage such FDA compliance figures.


Most medicines approved by the FDA only go through 3 trial levels 1,2,3. Just to get cannabis you have to go though the government supplier (themselves, they own a monopoly on growing legal cannabis) and 4 other agencies, including the DEA (who clearly benefits from no studies).


The governor should issue an EO directing law enforcement to not arrest any citizen of the US for possession of less than one ounce of cannabis or 12 grams of oil. Until we can figure this out, the last thing we want to do is criminalize people for making medical choices. We have the right to self-medicate.


Me? I don't think it is a 'drug' in the classic sense. They should just legalize it for anyone over 18 and allow anyone under 18 with a doctors letter to use limited concoctions. Medical MJ is kiddie pool legislation, while Colorado is Adult Swim. Eventually we will go into it.


The Lege will learn there is something  about cannabis - you can't just separate this or that molecule and expect maximum effect. There is something called "entourage effect", which is "the sum is greater than the parts"

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@Ralph-43


Ralph, thank you for your input, but I must disagree. 


The children who are having constant seizures and the young adults with brain tumors which can be controlled with Marijuana do not have the time to wait.  My heart and my head are with them. If the parents of  those children, and those afflicted young adults, are willing to take the risk for themselves or for their children, who are we to try to stop them from possibly saving their lives by legalizing medical Marijuana in Georgia, now?  The detailed studies you recommend, that can take years to complete, can still go forward.

Trackbacks

  1. […] nervousness about the impact this session could have on the general election that Gov. Nathan Deal signaled that he may step into the medical marijuana issue, perhaps with an executive order to make it […]

  2. […] Nathan Deal: Georgia ‘needs to address’ medical marijuana fix – Atlanta Journal Co… […]

  3. […] Nathan Deal: Georgia 'needs to address' medical marijuana fix Because marijuana and marijuana extracts and similar molecules have no peer-reviewed scientific publications to demonstrate either safety or effectiveness, Governor Deal should attend to the known benefits (Health Insurance for All) before he starts … Read more on Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) […]

  4. […] Nathan Deal (R): Nathan Deal: Georgia ‘needs to address’ medical marijuana fix | Political Insider – The Atlanta […]

  5. […] Nathan Deal: Georgia 'needs to address' medical marijuana fix … http://politics.blog.ajc.com/The effort to legalize limited use of medical marijuana petered out in the legislative session's final hours last week amid infighting between Republicans over an unrelated bill to mandate autism coverage for children. Now Gov. […]

  6. […] told you last week how Deal is exploring administrative action to allow families to use a form of cannabis oil to treat debilitating seizures, part of a strategy […]

  7. […] Both are part of a larger strategy of taking executive action where lawmakers failed. It’s led to criticism from political rivals and questions from legal experts about whether the governor is overstepping his authority. But Deal’s camp sees advantages to taking this route. […]