While expressing support for limited use of medical marijuana, law enforcement officials from across the state Wednesday warned of a slippery slope leading to legalized recreational use.
Their warning came during a hearing at Georgia Gwinnett College in Lawrenceville of the Joint Study Committee on Prescription of Medical Cannabis for Serious Medical Conditions.
State lawmakers are considering allowing the use of cannabis oil — which contains anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety cannibidiols but is free of THC, the psychoactive ingredient that gets people high — to treat children with seizure disorders.
“There continues to be tremendous interest on the part of the medical community, families, patients and law enforcement about the prospect of creating a very narrowly defined and narrowly administered cannibidiol oil treatment for seizure disorders in children up to the age of 16,” said state Sen. Butch Miller, R-Gainesville, who sits on the committee.
Mike Hopkins, a Covington resident, attended the hearing with his special needs children. He said he hoped to put a face to the issue.
Hopkins’ young son passed away just a month ago from seizures, and Hopkins said he has spoken with parents who have children suffering seizures who report remarkable improvements resulting from the use of cannabis oil.
“We’re kind of out of options,” he said.
Law enforcement officials, including representatives from the Georgia Sheriff’s Association and Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police, said while they understood the need for treating epileptic children and other seizure disorders with medical marijuana, they expressed concern about how the state will regulate cultivation and distribution.
Law officers said they opposed any smokable form of medical marijuana and cautioned that other states allowing medical marijuana use have expanded this right for all segments of the population.
But Maj. Neill Franklin, executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, pushed back against these concerns.
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