The legislator championing medical marijuana in Georgia said Monday that he hopes to announce an agreement soon with a manufacturer that aims to ship...

The legislator championing medical marijuana in Georgia said Monday that he hopes to announce an agreement soon with a manufacturer that aims to ship cannabis oil to residents in the state.

Rep. Allen Peake

Rep. Allen Peake

That process would be facilitated if Georgia passes a bill to offer immunity from prosecution to those families using cannabis oil for medical purposes, said state Rep. Allen Peake (R-Macon).

He told reporters Monday that the cannabis product in question contains so little THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, “that it’s considered hemp.’’

Under the plan, he said, families could order the product online and the manufacturer would ship it to their homes. “They’re only sending it to states where immunity is in place.’’

Earlier, Peake had discussed a broader bill that would have allowed some marijuana to be grown in Georgia for the purpose of manufacturing the oil. But Peake backed off that provision in a compromise with Gov. Nathan Deal, who did not support cultivation of cannabis in the state.

The compromise disappointed some Georgia parents of children with seizure disorders who moved to Colorado, where marijuana products are legal. They worry that some Georgians will be unable to afford the trip or will risk arrest if they travel home through states where the product is not legal, the AP reported.

Other ideas to bring medical marijuana to Georgia, Peake said Monday, include asking the governor to request a federal exemption allowing a state agency to obtain cannabis oil for “compassionate-need” distribution.

Peake also spoke of volunteering himself to bring the cannabis oil from Colorado to Georgia. “Maybe there’s a time for a little civil disobedience,”  Peake said.

Blaine and Shannon Cloud of Smyrna said they support Peake’s immunity bill.

Their daughter Alaina, 9, has seizures. Five medications help keep them in control now, but “the side effects are terrible,’’ she said, including making the child unable to eat.

The best solution for the families “is to have in-state growing,’’ Blaine Cloud said, while calling the immunity bill “a first step.”

Separately, the American Academy of Pediatrics on Monday updated its recommendations on medical marijuana.

The AAP said it opposes the use of medical marijuana outside the FDA regulatory process. But the organization also said that “marijuana may be an option for cannabinoid administration for children with life-limiting or severely debilitating conditions and for whom current therapies are inadequate.’’

The pediatrics organization also recommended changing marijuana from a Schedule I to a Schedule II drug to facilitate research and development of pharmaceutical cannabinoids.

The AAP said it strongly supports the decriminalization of marijuana use and encouraged pediatricians to advocate for laws that prevent harsh criminal penalties for possession or use of marijuana.




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Andy Miller

Andy Miller is editor and CEO of Georgia Health News

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