You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myAJC.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myAJC.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myAJC.com.

Medical marijuana studies take a step forward in Georgia


The state initiative to treat children with epilepsy and other disorders using medical marijuana took a step forward Tuesday. But Gov. Nathan Deal signaled he likely wouldn’t support legislation next year to legalize the drug for medical use.

The governor said Dr. Geoffrey Guy, the head of London-based GW Pharmaceuticals, has agreed to launch expanded clinical trials that would allow a broader range of children suffering from debilitating seizures to participate in studies on the use of cannabis oil.

There is no timetable for the start of the trials, but Deal said he’s hopeful they will get regulatory approval by early 2015.

“Time truly is of the essence,” Deal said after a meeting with the drug maker’s executives at Georgia Regents University in Augusta. “We want to get it right and we want to make sure our protocols are properly approved … but we need to show progress.”

The governor also said a separate effort by Georgia Regents to launch a clinical trial using cannabis oil obtained from federal regulators in Mississippi was making headway, though there is no firm timetable on its start either.

Deal’s two-pronged strategy came after Republican infighting scuttled legislation that would have made anyone in possession of a particular cannabis oil immune from prosecution and cleared the way for patients and their parents to travel out of state to find a supply. The cannabis oil in question is extracted from marijuana plants without THC, the chemical that produces a high.

But Deal, who faces re-election in November, said he wasn’t likely to embrace a revival of the proposal in January. He said he was willing to talk to state Rep. Allen Peake, R-Macon, who sponsored the measure, but he was concerned that it could interfere with the ongoing studies.

“I would hope we give this process ample time to be fully vetted and fully implemented,” Deal said. “I don’t want us to see by legislative action for us to put something in place that would be detrimental to the process that we’ve already started.”

Peake said in a statement that he was “encouraged” by Deal’s efforts to help Georgia families with children who are suffering with seizure disorders but he stressed a need for a legislative solution that provide relief more quickly.

“The clinical trials with GW Pharma are showing great promise, for those that are fortunate enough to participate, and who have the luxury of waiting for the lengthy FDA approval process,” Peake said. “But there are children, and other citizens, who are suffering daily now, who need access to medical cannabis immediately. Some may not live long enough to wait for the trials to start.

“That is why I believe there is still a need to find a legislative solution quickly during the next session that will not hinder or interfere with the process the Governor has initiated, that will establish a framework for regulated access to cannabis oil for a broad range of citizens for specific and limited diagnoses, and can be put into place expeditiously, so that our citizens are not suffering, and dying, while they wait on a federal government approval process.”

Guy, in a lecture before his meeting with Deal, urged medical students to keep an open mind about medical marijuana and pointed to “encouraging” studies of the use of the drug for patients suffering from debilitating seizures.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Georgia Politics

ACLU sends Cobb, Gwinnett complaint letters over notice sent to voters
ACLU sends Cobb, Gwinnett complaint letters over notice sent to voters

The ACLU of Georgia has sent two more counties letters threatening legal action over address confirmation notices that have gone out to hundreds of thousands of residents across metro Atlanta and the state. The letters, sent over the weekend to Cobb and Gwinnett counties, follows a similar complaint made last week to Fulton County over the notice&rsquo...
Feds’ decision to kill sex-ed grants stirs worries in South Georgia
Feds’ decision to kill sex-ed grants stirs worries in South Georgia

Angelina Jackson of Edison, Ga., population 1,451, likes the classroom work she does for Quest for Change. She is proud of the “scenario” she and her fellow teenagers set up at Calhoun County High School placing classmates in the role of a girl who had unprotected sex and doesn’t know whether she’s pregnant. They set up desks...
Speaker appoints health committee on access to care
Speaker appoints health committee on access to care

Georgia House Speaker David Ralston has appointed a committee to examine access to health care. They include high-ranking members of the House and well-known medical professionals with public experience on issues that have plagued Georgians. The citizen members are all medical professionals: Dr. Yolanda Graham, a child psychiatrist specializing...
Opinion roundup: What are they saying from the Left and from the Right today 
Opinion roundup: What are they saying from the Left and from the Right today 

Should O.J. Simpson have been granted parole? Is President Donald Trump investigating the investigators hired by special counsel Robert Mueller? Is it time for Universal health care? Here's a look at columns about those and other topics in Friday’s opinions from the Right and from the Left. “In our tumultuous political climate, at least...
Your Friday political briefing: Trump vs. Mueller; Perdue nervous over workflow; health care vote
Your Friday political briefing: Trump vs. Mueller; Perdue nervous over workflow; health care vote

Here is what is trending in politics around Georgia and across the nation on Friday. Attorneys for President Donald Trump are looking at potential conflicts of interest among the members of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigative team, according to reports. The Associated Press reported that three people who have knowledge of the matter...
More Stories