Answers to critics of medical cannabis production in Georgia
One group that is vocally opposed to cultivation of medical cannabis in Georgia is the Georgia Sheriff’s Association along with some other law enforcement groups.
In a recent online essay, the president of the sheriff’s association, Steve Wilson of Walker County, attempted to spell out why he and the association were opposed.
Several thoughts on his objections:
- Medical cannabis is a medical issue, not a law enforcement issue. It’s an affront to suffering patients for the law enforcement community lobby to deny them access to much needed help. Doctors aren’t lobbying the state on law enforcement issues and the law enforcement community shouldn’t have a voice in medical decisions. This isn’t a criminal issue and sheriffs have no real standing in this debate.
- Many law enforcement officials seem to have the old “weed in the woods” image of medical marijuana. Actually, the industrial production of medical cannabis oil is a highly controlled, indoor process. It has to be tightly controlled in order to provide oil that is consistent in its compounds and quality for patients.
- In his essay, Sheriff Wilson said that since people can get cannabis oil from other states, there is no need to grow and produce it here. But a lot of that Internet oil may be a snake oil scam. There’s no way to know the quality or consistency of online oil someone might buy online. But with a regulated in-state cultivation process, quality can be controlled. Georgia patients need access to high quality medical cannabis oil, not black-market “marijuana moonshine.”
- In his essay, Sheriff Wilson outlined a convoluted theory about the economics of producing cannabis oil and where that might lead in the future. But Sheriff Wilson isn’t an economist and has no knowledge of the medical industry. In reality, there is no economic downside to allowing the cultivation and processing of medical cannabis in the state. If there is no real medical market for it, as Sheriff Wilson says, then it won’t be produced anyway.
- There is no public safety issue at stake in the medical use of cannabis oil. Nobody has ever overdosed on marijuana. It isn’t a dangerous drug like many of the legal painkillers in the state that are highly-addictive and deadly in overdoses. The sheriff’s association isn’t lobbying to ban those deadly painkillers, so why is it lobbying against a medical drug that is safe and effective for patients?
- In his essay, Sheriff Wilson attempts to muddy the debate by injecting concerns about recreational use of marijuana. But legislators and the citizens in Georgia know the difference between the medical use of cannabis and recreational use. Overwhelmingly, polls show that Georgians approve of a regulated system of cannabis research and production in state for medical use. Whipping up fears about recreational use is just an attempt by law enforcement to create a straw-man argument.
The reality is there is already a growing black market for medical cannabis oil in Georgia. We can let that continue to grow and make criminals out of some of our state’s sickest citizens and their families, or we create a path toward a legal, regulated production of medical cannabis oil.
It’s time for state leaders to do the right thing.
Co-Publisher, Mainstreet Newspapers, Inc. Jefferson, GA
Dad of Clark Buffington, a seizure patient for 15 years