By Steve Elliott
Almost a year after the first medical marijuana bill -- and a rather mild one, at that -- failed in Georgia, suffering patients and those fighting to relieve their pain hope that won't happen again.
As lawmakers prepare for the next General Assembly in January, a poll from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution shows that 80 percent of Georgians support legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes, reports Anita Oh at WMAZ.
Since Congress just approved, and President Obama signed into law, a spending measure that eliminated funding for the Drug Enforcement Administration to conduct medical marijuana raids on complying businesses in states where medicinal cannabis is legal, those favoring a change of law at the state level have more rhetorical ammunition.
After testifying in September before a medical marijuana study committee led by Republican state Rep. Allen Peake, Katie Crosby, 26, started a Facebook group called Hope For Silent Sufferers. "Imagine, before you even have a thought in the morning, you wake up, just in agony," she said. "A living hell, a living nightmare to be honest."
The group, which advocates for the legalization of medical marijuana in Georgia, has nearly 20,000 supporters. Through it, Crosby has connected with people like Pamela Skinner, who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia in 1996.
By Steve Elliott
Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo says he plans to file a bill in the upcoming General Assembly session to allow medical marijuana in the Bluegrass State, but he says its chances are slim.
Outright opposition to medicinal cannabis among lawmakers has softened, reports Gregory A. Hall at The Courier-Journal, but many lawmakers just haven't yet discovered the courage to vote for it.
"I think it's going to get some play this session; I don't know how much," said Stumbo (D-Prestonsburg).
The steady progress of medical marijuana legislation in other states is seen as increasing the likelihood for positive change in Kentucky. State residents expressed support for medical marijuana in Bluegrass Polls for the past two years.
Last session, timid lawmakers passed a no-risk "CBD-only" law that allows non-psychoactive cannabidiol oil to be used to control seizures. Two bills to allow broader medical marijuana use died, including one in the House that made it out of the Health and Welfare Committee before dying in the Judiciary Committee.
By Steve Elliott
The first executive director of the Maryland Medical Marijuana Commission has been appointed, it was announced on Friday.
Hannah Byron has been named to the position, according to the panel, reports the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Byron was assistant secretary for the Maryland Division of Tourism, Film and the Arts of the Department of Economic and Business Development.
Byron's appointment takes effect on January 14.
“The Commission is thrilled that Hannah Byron, an extraordinarily effective public official, has agreed to be our first full-time executive director,” said Dr. Paul Davies, chair of the Natalie M. LaPrade Medical Marijuana Commission. “For more than 12 years, she has been a top administrator in the Department of Business and Economic Development. We are excited that she will bring her deep experience with the business community and her commitment to the citizens of Maryland to lead the Commission.”
“We face an urgent challenge to get medical marijuana to patients whose doctors have certified that they need it,” Byron said. “I look forward to working with the medical profession and patients, law enforcement, business and agricultural leaders, the Commissioners and others to implement this law. I am committed to getting this program operational as quickly as possible.”