Georgia Governor Cuts Medical Marijuana Bill, Putting Patients at Risk

Published on January 20, 2015 · Last updated July 28, 2020

Georgia’s legislature passed an initiative calling for major research on medical marijuana, which has been ongoing for the past year. Governor Nathan Deal made comments indicating that he would be supportive of an expanded medical marijuana bill, House Bill 885, which was on the docket and seemed like a sure thing. The bill would have allowed the cultivation and distribution of cannabis oil to families in need in Georgia.

Well, never say never. Governor Deal backed out at the last minute, eliminating nearly all of the medical marijuana bill save for a small clause that offers legal protection to qualifying medical patients who travel to legal states (such as Colorado) to obtain the medically necessary cannabis oil and bring it back to their native Georgia.

This creates a federal conundrum for Georgia families with a medical need, not unlike the problem facing Iowa’s medically qualified patients – in order to obtain the medicine that they need, they are required to illegally transport it across state lines, putting themselves at risk for prosecution in every illegal state they must pass through in order to reach Georgia.

Cannabis is currently illegal federally, and carrying cannabis in any form across state lines carries harsh penalties, as it is considered drug trafficking. Another concern for families is that they would almost certainly want to obtain a larger amount in order to minimize the number of trips necessary between states, but unfortunately, the larger the amount, the harsher the penalties.

State Representative Allen Peake, a vocal and prominent supporter of HB 885, has put himself in the ring to help Georgia families in need, stating that he himself would risk imprisonment in order to bring much-needed cannabis oil treatments to Georgia. Thank you for your support, Representative Peake! We’ll continue to update the rest of you on the situation in Georgia as it continues to unfold.

photo credit: jbouie via photopincc

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Lisa Rough
Lisa Rough
Lisa is a former associate editor at Leafly, where she specialized in legislative cannabis policy and industry topics.
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