There were all sorts of goodies hidden in the spending bill Congress approved last week. Lawmakers are being chided for adding provisions that have nothing to do with keeping the government running -- rather they use such occasions to pay debts to constituents -- the people who give them megabucks for their election campaigns. The system is flawed, lawmakers can add these little tidbits without much notice. Even the lawmakers didn’t know all of the sweeteners that helped the CROmnibus bill to pass, but it is what it is.
One such measure tossed into the mix was a provision that ended the federal government’s prohibition of medical marijuana. It takes the feds out of the game and gives the authority to regulate medicinal marijuana to the states, of which 32 and the District of Columbia have already approved. Hopefully, Georgia will be taking the step to legalize medicinal cannabis with the provisions included in Rep. Allen Peake’s bill, HB 1, in the next session. The federal clause may require some rewriting, but it is a positive step for those who want to help people suffering debilitating seizures, particularly children.
Last year’s efforts were derailed by politics and that factor has not disappeared, but this time the challenge may be from those who believe the state’s marijuana laws should be scrapped. We are not willing to go that far. States that have given the OK for unfettered use of the drug are still works in progress. Lawmakers should not let the issue get confused with other efforts and maintain the narrow provisions included in HB 1 and call it a day.