The Georgia State Senate [official website] on Thursday approved a bill [text, PDF] legalizing the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. The bill carves our narrow acceptable uses and is careful to make clear it is not meant to be a step towards outright legalization. Specifically, the bill legalizes the use of cannabidoils (CBD), which is high in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), for the treatment of children's seizures. Studies show that CBD has been effective in reducing the duration and frequency of seizures. In addition, the bill allows for clinical trials and further research to be done on the potential benefits of medical marijuana for cancer patients or those with glaucoma. The bill was paired with another measure that mandates insurance coverage for children with autism and passed the Senate unanimously, 54-0. The bill now goes back before the House for final approval.
The use of marijuana for medical purposes and the legalization of marijuana [JURIST backgrounder] for recreational use has garnered more legal support [Marijuana Policy Project website] in the US in recent months. Last month the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) of the US Department of the Treasury issued guidelines [JURIST report] for banks to provide services to legal marijuana-related businesses, predominately in Colorado and Washington. In January the Florida Supreme Court approved [JURIST report] a citizen initiative to vote on an amendment to the state constitution on the legality of medical marijuana. Also in January New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced [JURIST report] plans for a medical marijuana pilot program which would permit up to 20 hospitals to distribute medical marijuana to patients with serious illnesses.