(File photo)

Governor Deal: No medical marijuana for AIDS patients

State Rep. Allen Peake’s medical marijuana bill is the talk of this year’s legislative session—well, along with this other little bill that’s gotten a little press. Heck, the Macon Republican’s proposed legislation is literally House Bill 1.

Originally intended to treat children with certain seizure disorders, the latest version of Peake’s bill now includes an expanded list of diseases and conditions, including cancer, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, PTSD, autism and, among many others, AIDS.

And Gov. Nathan Deal just became a very vocal critic of the bill, as he told the AJC:

We want the cannabis oil to be available for the children. But we do not want it misused. And I think law enforcement and district attorneys that have expressed opinions on this believe that if it’s not drafted very, very tightly and can’t be enforced with certainty, it lends itself to a situation where we cannot control it … I share those concerns. That’s why it is difficult to draft this kind of legislation.

The law enforcement and district attorneys that Deal is referring to are the Prosecuting Attorneys Council and the Georgia Sheriffs Association, who have voiced their objections to the longer list of conditions.

Rep. Peake was initially defiant after the two groups came out against the latest version of the bill, saying that if a non-intoxicating pot derivative is legalized for one group, “why not offer that medicine to other citizens who could potentially benefit? I have no problem fighting that fight all day.”

Rep. Allen Peake, who introduced the medical marijuana bill. (official photo)
Rep. Allen Peake, who introduced the medical marijuana bill. (official photo)

However he pumped his brakes a bit now that the governor has had his say on the list. Rep. Peake:

I’m very confident that the rigorous legislative process will provide a final version of HB 1 that will bring relief from pain and suffering for many Georgia citizens that are hurting, and meets the needed criteria to obtain the signature of Governor Deal.

I wholeheartedly share the Governor’s concerns that we not pass a medical cannabis oil bill that could lead to abuse of the medicine, and we will be working with our law enforcement officials to insert safeguards in the legislation that protect against potential abuse.

Stay tuned.