Posted: 3:46 pm Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

A step forward for medical marijuana trials in Georgia 

By Greg Bluestein

Augusta -  The state initiative to treat children with epilepsy and other disorders using medical marijuana took a major step forward on Tuesday. But at the same time, Gov. Nathan Deal poured cold water on the prospect of legislation next year to legalize the drug for medical uses.

The governor said Dr. Geoffrey Guy, the head of London-based GW Pharmaceuticals, has agreed to launch expanded clinical trials that would allow a broader range of children suffering from debilitating seizures to participate in studies on the use of cannabis oil.

There is no timetable for the start of the trials, but Deal said he’s hopeful they will get regulatory approval by early 2015.

“Time truly is of the essence,” Deal said after a meeting with the drugmaker’s executives at Georgia Regents University. “We want to get it right and we want to make sure our protocols are properly approved … but we need to show progress.”

The governor also said a separate effort by the Georgia Regents to launch a clinical trial using cannabis oil obtained from federal regulators in Mississippi was making headway, though there is no firm timetable on its start either.

Deal’s two-pronged strategy came after Republican infighting scuttled legislation that would have made anyone in possession of a particular cannabis oil immune from prosecution and cleared the way for patients and their parents to travel out of state to find a supply. The cannabis oil in question is extracted from marijuana plants without THC, the chemical that produces a high.

The governor signaled he was reluctant to embrace legislation that could interfere with the studies, should he win re-election. Said Deal:

“I would hope we give this process ample time to be fully vetted and fully implemented. I don’t want us to see by legislative action for us to put something in place that would be detrimental to the process that we’ve already started.”

He said he’s willing to talk to state Rep. Allen Peake, the Macon Republican who sponsored the measure, but he doesn’t want state legislation to interfere with the drugmaker’s trials or the state’s studies.

“This is a delicate subject, and one that has a lot of regulatory oversight,” he said.

Peake said he appreciated Deal’s effort. But he made clear he would still press legislation next year in hopes of finding a compromise.

“There are children, and other citizens, who are suffering daily now, who need access to medical cannabis immediately. Some may not live long enough to wait for the trials to start. That is why I believe there is still a need to find a legislative solution quickly during the next session that will not hinder or interfere with the process the Governor has initiated, that will establish a framework for regulated access to cannabis oil for a broad range of citizens for specific and limited diagnosis’s, and can be put into place expeditiously, so that our citizens are not suffering, and dying, while they wait on a federal government approval process.”

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12 comments
mnt
mnt

Isn't decriminalization the conservative, "small government" answer?

ConservativeChristian
ConservativeChristian

Good to see that our folks in Atlanta are continuing this discussion. There were a lot of disappointed citizens after the legislative infighting this past spring; hopefully there will be significant progress over the next several months.

ImmortalIllumined
ImmortalIllumined

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

ENLIGHTENMENT...i was a brainwashed evil, mean, christian conservative until i tried it at 17 years old...i hated gays, immigrants, women's rights, blacks, marijuana, i was Rush Limbaugh's #1 fan....until i smoked marijuana, changed the world....hope the EVIL POPE is enjoying the marijuana revolution around the globe, keeping the flock brainwashed and against marijuana, gays, and women's rights...you don't deny ease from pain and suffering for billions of people unless you are PURE EVIL...

1000s of my friends and family have grown 30-99 plants for 20 years, thanks for keeping prices high and NORCAL wealthy...#1 crop in cali = $15 Billion Untaxed...

"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 and NEW YORK, sad and scary....nobody denies freedoms like the south, nobody…the top ten incarcerators on the planet are southern states and more blacks are in prison then were slaves before the civil war...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….the new generations are taking over in the south and they are nothing like their freedom denying parents, let’s ride…

Deaths by Alcohol: Millions
Deaths by Tobacco: Millions

Deaths by Prescription Drugs: Quadrupled in last decade

Deaths by Guns: Millions

Deaths by the food we are fed: 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

honested
honested

This is still gooberstan...

Where the baptists would revolt before they would let anyone reduce their suffering with an agent not approved by falwell.

DS
DS

I don't understand why 23 other states have been able to legalize medical marijuana, including New York just yesterday, yet Georgia has to arrange trials with a private drug company and cannot move ahead on the legislative front.

What do these other states know that we don't?

jway
jway

Every time I sit down to relax or socialize over a beer or a couple of wines I'm reminded of the fact that marijuana is a far less-harmful and less-addictive alternative to alcohol. Why is it then that people are arrested for the "crime" of wanting to choose a safer alternative to alcohol?

Capt Tom
Capt Tom

@honested Oddly enough, many of those who typically fall into that description were going along with Peake's MM bill last session....even the S Ga busybodies who spent years lobbying against Sunday alcohol sales.

LookbeforeIleap
LookbeforeIleap

@DS 

It's not what they know, it's what they don't have...

Baptists....lots and lots of Baptists.


LookbeforeIleap
LookbeforeIleap

@jway 

Easy.  Pot growers do not have lobbyists inside the beltway or greasing the hands of state politicians.

Yet.

DS
DS

@LookbeforeIleap Maybe so. But it looks like Deal is holding up the works. Rep. Peake is anxious to get moving.

To hear Deal tell it, we're finding our way along a path where no one has gone before. But 23 other states have already figured this out. Why can't we just do what they did?