ATLANTA | Patients who have to go out of state to get cannabis oil say they will face risks and hurdles even after medical marijuana becomes legal in Georgia on Thursday.
Gov. Nathan Deal will sign a law that makes it legal to possess up to 20 ounces of cannabis oil in Georgia. But patients who need the oil still have to go out of state to get it, because it remains illegal to produce at home.
That means families have to travel out-of-state to get the oil, and it is unclear whether the federal government will tolerate that.
The U.S. Justice Department has said it will not stand in the way of states that want to legalize marijuana as long as there are effective controls in place. However, marijuana remains illegal under federal law and in every state between Georgia and Colorado.
That, according to Rep. Allen Peake, means families that have to drive or fly to Colorado could risk penalties if the marijuana extract is found by a federal officer or airport security, or a law-enforcement official from a state where marijuana is illegal.
Peake, a Macon Republican who sponsored the original legislation, said two Colorado companies have agreed to ship cannabis oil, with no more than 0.3 percent content of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the psychoactive ingredient. But the lawmaker contends the THC level is not high enough to help many patients. Georgia’s new law allows up to 5 percent THC.
“The product is not FDA-approved,” Peake said. “You’d have to fly to Colorado or risk crossing state lines. … Until we have a safe product produced and cultivated in Georgia, we’re going to face challenges.”
Some 14 families from Georgia have moved to Colorado to get medical marijuana for their children. Blaine Cloud, 42, of Atlanta, hasn’t moved his wife and children just yet. Daughter Alaina, 9, has seizures, and he hopes the low-THC-content cannabis oil will help her.
“But we will do what’s best for her,” he said. “If we have to travel out there, then that’s what we’ll do. It’s ludicrous to have meds legal in Colorado and California and soon in Georgia but not in the states you have to travel through to get back home. It may take a few people getting caught to show the injustice …Read More
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