'We have the opportunity to provide doctors with an additional tool'
Atlanta, Ga. - November 24, 2014 - Georgia State Senator Curt Thompson (D-Norcoss) today pre-filed legislation that would legalize medical marijuana, along with a separate measure that would legalize and regulate marijuana retail sales to adults.
"Few would disagree that physicians need every good tool in their medical toolbox to provide the best health care possible to their patients. Whether that tool is a new diagnostic test, a new antibiotic or a form of proven pain reliever, doctors need the ability to provide the best possible short and long-term health care for their patients, SB 7 is designed to do just that," Thompson said.
Thompson's SB 7 would allow doctors to proscribe marijuana of up to two ounces for specific debilitating medical conditions, including: cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis-C, ALS, Chrone's Disease, Alzheimer's and chronic or debilitating condition that cause Cachexia (wasting syndrome), severe and chronic pain, severe nausea and seizures/muscle spasms from epilepsy or MS. SB 7 also includes a number of common sense limitations and guardrails for dispensing the drug. Marijuana, like any other prescription drug, would be regulated.
In addition, Thompson has filed SR 6 to advance the conversation of marijuana use. This constitutional amendment, if approved by voters, would legalize, regulate and tax the sale of retail marijuana through licensed establishments. The tax collections would be constitutionally earmarked for education and transportation infrastructure. Many other states have passed similar measures.
Thompson said the retail marijuana would co-exist with, not replace, medical marijuana. SB 7 includes lengthy requirements about licensing facilities, excise taxes and fees, the creation of a state authority to regulate the sales. SR 6, while separate from medical marijuana treatment, puts the discussion of retail marijuana regulation and taxation on the table.
Thompson said SR 6 provides an opportunity to regulate sales and to make available another revenue stream without raising existing taxes.
"During the 2015 legislative session, we will have the opportunity to provide our doctors with an additional tool by legalizing marijuana for medical use. This past summer, a joint study committee examined the options for legalizing marijuana and, already, three bi-partisan bills have been filed," said Thompson. "Our discussions of marijuana in Georgia - in its many forms - have been largely limited to children's health. While I adamantly support cannabis oil treatments for children with severe medical problems, I believe physicians should have the ability to care for all of their patients, regardless of age. SB 7 would provide doctors another tool for care and treatment."
Thompson said Georgians will be hearing a great deal about these issues in the coming months and citizens deserve no less than a full exploration and debate by their elected officials.
"I am looking forward to working with my colleagues to advance the discussion of marijuana use and regulation and finding the best possible solution for Georgians," he said.