CANNAHEALTH The Opioid Epidemic - Page 33

Hauling a casket up the hill to The Capitol wasn’t an easy task, but we had willing hands and got it done. We stopped for a rest and some photos under the United States and Georgia Flags then on to the public entry. The Georgia State Patrol Troops at the security checkpoint were professional and courteous and after the coffin and all the participants were thoroughly checked, we proceeded inside.

Several of us spoke, telling our stories of how pharmaceuticals prescribed by the Veterans Administration adversely affected our quality of life, and how cannabis made a difference. It was quite inspirational. Here we were, in the Capitol Rotunda, in a state where you can do time for the mere possession of the smallest amount of cannabis, boldly announcing that we use cannabis to effectively treat ourselves, because the pharmaceuti- cals did more harm than good. It was a liberating moment.

Our pleas fell on deaf ears. As a matter of fact, House Bill 722, the bill we were supporting, which would have added PTSD, among other conditions, to Georgia’s cannabis oil law, never really got off the ground and no new conditions were added to Georgia’s list in the 2015-2016 legislative session. While disappointing, this was not totally unexpected. Georgia is “old school” and it seems most lawmakers are still afraid of the “Boogey Weed”.

Now here we are, a legislative session later. Have things improved for Veterans in Georgia? NO! House Bill 65, this year’s attempt to expand authorized conditions, was countered by Senate Bill 16. The first conditions that were cut were PTSD and chronic pain. After much negotiation, Senate Bill 16 passed, and although several more “authorized” conditions were added, PTSD was not among them.