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Four Georgia House Candidates Discuss Marijuana Legalization

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As Representative Allen Peake prepares for his final months of service, those vying for his seat are voicing their opinions regarding medical marijuana. The state allows those with epilepsy to obtain a card permitting them to have and use low-THC marijuana oil. The issue remains that they have no way to purchase their medicine in the State of Georgia.

Peake introduced a bill to permit in-state cultivation with two cultivation licenses to be available, The Telegraph reports. The four candidates hoping to win the seat do support improvements to access for approved patients. Some lawmakers want to see the oil made available to people with several additional health conditions.

Candidate Shane Mobley supports increased access but not in-state cultivation. He said, “If you begin to cultivate and you stop someone with five pounds of marijuana in the car, you’re not going to know did it come from the farm that was licensed by the state or if you’re just doing it in your backyard. There’s a huge difference between cannabis oil and those that just smoke marijuana. I think we have to be very careful about that. It’s legal to have some of that stuff in our state, we just have to find a legal way to get it here.”

Gary Betchel, on the other hand, does support limited in-state cultivation. He said, “It’s going to take more than a group of legislatures to put pressure on the federal government to do that. It’ll probably take the support of the governor, support of the public…to bring it up to the level it needs to get the attention of the federal government.”

Todd Tolbert wants to see the low-THC oil available in pharmacies and would work hard to make sure it got to pharmacies. Tolbert also supports medical marijuana cultivation in greenhouses within the state.

Tolbert said, “In other states like Nevada they are growing in greenhouses with video cameras, surveillance connected to the sheriff’s department, so they can watch this growing process to make sure someone isn’t using it improperly and make sure it’s not getting into the wrong hands.”

Dale Washburn seems a bit on-the-fence but acknowledges the evidence that marijuana helps relieve pain. He is supportive of in-state cultivation in a properly controlled environment. He is a little hesitant as he’s not sure how the cultivation would be controlled, and would like answers regarding that before showing 100-percent support.

Washburn said, “If those questions can be answered…. I would be open to the idea that it could be done in Georgia. However, I am not in favor of anything that will move us any more toward recreational use of marijuana.”