According to Georgians for Freedom in Health Care, an overwhelming majority of Georgia state voters approve expanding the state’s existing medical marijuana bill.
Currently, Georgia law allows permits to patients with certain illnesses – such as seizures – to obtain medical cannabis, but marijuana cannot be grown or produced in the state.
The new poll shows that 84.5 percent of voters support expanding the medical marijuana bill to allow for state cultivation and production of medical marijuana.
Atlanta’s local NBC station reports that this Wednesday, the Georgia Commission on Medical Cannabis will meet to put together a strategy “on how to cultivate and produce medical marijuana in Georgia.” The commission will then present the proposal to Governor Deal for his consideration.
California, the first state to legalize medical marijuana in 1996, could serve as a case study for the Georgia Commission on Medical Cannabis – especially now that new laws will be on the ballot in 2016.
We previously reported on the six new bills that could potentially be on California’s 2016 ballot. These bills further regulate the cultivation and production of medical marijuana, and some call for the legalization of recreational marijuana.
Currently, there’s an estimated 1,250 medical marijuana dispensaries operating in California, "with sales of about $1.3 billion," according the LA Times.
To find out the projected profitability of the marijuana industry, watch this video:
In addition to the bills for the 2016 ballot, Governor Brown is in the process of creating an advisory committee within his administration's Department of Consumer Affairs to develop standards and regulation for medical marijuana aimed at protecting patients.
California’s new regulations come at a time when pot companies in Colorado are recalling products after pesticides were found in marijuana flowers, edibles, and concentrates.
Although there has yet to be any sicknesses attributed to the use of these banned pesticides, two marijuana users in Colorado — one of them a medical-card holder with a brain tumor — have sued the state’s largest pot grower.
As a result, Colorado has proposed new rules to further restrict which pesticides can be used to grow marijuana.
Even as more states are considering the expansion of marijuana laws, federal law remains the same: the sale of any kind of cannabis– including medical – is a crime.
In 2013, the U.S. Department of Justice issued a memorandum stating the DEA's prosecution of marijuana sales should focus on "the most serious threats.” The memo also indicated that states with "strong regulations" would be least likely to see medical marijuana license holders prosecuted.
To keep the Feds out of California, Governor Brown has devised an interesting solution. According to the LA Times, the state's Public Health, Food and Agriculture departments will "enforce rules on the quality of marijuana and growing practices." This shift will designate marijuana as an agricultural product, "subject to the same regulations on insecticide and water use as other crops."
If marijuana is considered a crop according to a state’s agriculture law, will it no longer be classified as a schedule 1 narcotic? Only time will tell, but either way, when marijuana is subject to the Public Health, Food and Agriculture departments, there will certainly be stronger regulations and higher standards of safety than there are currently.
Governor Brown says some of these state standards won't be in effect until Jan. 1, 2018; however, he claims the process is already underway: “state agencies will begin working immediately with experts and stakeholders on crafting clear guidelines, so local government, law enforcement, businesses, patients and health providers can prepare and adapt to the new regulated system.”
What do you think about California classifying marijuana as part of the agriculture industry? Do you think Georgia will follow suit? Sound off below!
The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of Ora Media, LLC its affiliates, or its employees.
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