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Way forward – Governor’s cannabis oil proposal

Metro ATL

Way forward – Governor’s cannabis oil proposal

Source: Wikimedia commons

Source: Wikimedia commons

The Georgia General Assembly failed to pass a bill legalizing medical marijuana this year, and the governor has proposed a way to provide access to the drug.

Gov. Nathan Deal’s office today announced a plan to provide for “safe and legal use of cannabis oil by Georgia children suffering from epileptic disorders.”

A press release from the governor’s office says Deal has already spoken to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration about whether the state can begin clinical trials at Georgia Regents University Augusta.

The governor said “we have identified two tracks worthy of pursuit.” He said the “most promising solution” is to partner GRU with a private drug manufacturer that already has developed purified liquid cannabis that’s being tested by the FDA.

“The product contains no THC, which is the component in marijuana that intoxicates a user,” the governor said in the press release. “The university would create a well-designed trial for children with epileptic disorders, and in order to serve as many children as we can, we would like to pursue a statewide investigational new drug program through a multicenter study that would allow GRU to partner with other research facilities across the state.”

The governor already has reached out to the pharmaceutical company and the company has signaled its interest in talking further, Deal said.

The second option is a clinical trial involving cannabidiol at GRU. The product would be obtained from medical marijuana grown by the National Institute on Drug Abuse at its farm at the University of Mississippi, the governor said. That option might take more time because GRU would have to go through an extensive approval process, Deal said.

“We do not see these options as mutually exclusive, and we’re looking to move forward on both options at this time,” Deal said in the press release.

Deal is an incumbent Republican governor facing reelection this year. His announcement shows how much public opinion has shifted on this issue.

A recent poll commissioned by the Georgia chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws found that 62 percent of Georgia voters favored marijuana decriminalization.