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The Disaster Of CBD-Only ‘Medical Marijuana’ Legislation

cannabis oil rick simpson cbd

(photo credit: hempista.com)

Since the premiere of Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s documentary “Weed” back in August, the general public has quickly come to understand the miraculous healing power of cannabidiol, or CBD.  The political perception of medical marijuana changed forever when parents saw little Charlotte Figi, the girl with intractable epilepsy, go from hundreds of seizures a week to just one or two, thanks to CBD treatments.

But that change in perception isn’t a good one.  For now there are two types of medical marijuana – CBD-Only and “euphoric marijuana”, as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie calls medical marijuana that contains THC.  Just as “We’re Patients, Not Criminals” cast non-patients as criminals, the lobbying for these new CBD-Only laws relies heavily on pointing out that CBD is a “medicine that doesn’t get you high”, which casts THC at best as a medicine with an undesirable side effect and at worst as not a medicine but a drug of abuse.

This is a disaster both politically and medically; let’s begin with the former.  Politically, whole plant medical marijuana (the kind with THC in it) began in 1996 in California and from that point, it took eleven years before there were a dozen whole plant medical marijuana states in America.  CBD-Only medical marijuana began in March in Utah and from that point, it’s taken only four months to put us on the brink of a dozen CBD-Only medical marijuana states.

Also consider that of those first dozen whole plant states, eight of them were passed by citizen ballot initiative.  All twelve of the CBD-Only laws were passed by state legislatures, often by unanimous or near-unanimous votes.  Every legislature that has taken up the issue of CBD-Only medical marijuana has seen the legislation fly through the committees and both chambers (except Georgia, and that state was only derailed by some parliamentary shenanigans by one legislator).  Take North Carolina this week as an example.

On Tuesday, a committee of the North Carolina House of Representatives cancelled a meeting to discuss a CBD-Only bill.  No rescheduled date for the meeting was announced.  Local newspapers on Wednesday posted headlines that the bill’s passage was unlikely.  The Senate wasn’t likely to pass the bill in this short session that ends next week.  There would be no good reason for the House to move forward with the bill.

But on Wednesday afternoon, the meeting was suddenly rescheduled and the CBD-Only bill passed unanimously.  This morning (Thursday) the bill was heard by a second committee and passed immediately.  This afternoon it was heard and amended on the House floor where it passed 111-2.  It now awaits passage by the state Senate.

By the end of this week, it seems North Carolina could become the 12th CBD-Only state, joining Alabama, Florida, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri (awaiting governor’s signature), New York (governor’s executive order), South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, and Wisconsin.  Why are legislators so fast to pass these CBD-Only bills?  It’s fair to assume politicians are moved by the plight of epileptic children.  With CBD-Only, there’s no downside of being the guy or gal who voted for legalizing something that “gets you high”.  But even so, how do these bills move so fast and garner little to no opposition?

Because CBD-Only bills are political cover.  Voting for the CBD-Only bill allows the politicians to say they’re sympathetic to the plight of sick people and want to help patients get any medicine that will ease their suffering.  But they can also still play the “tough on drugs” game and maintain their support from law enforcement and prison lobbies.  Their vote garners headlines that a politician formerly considered “anti-medical marijuana” has “changed his mind” or “altered her stance” on medical marijuana.  Best of all, it gets the sick kids and their parents out of the legislative galleries and off the evening news.  For the politicians in these conservative states, it makes the medical marijuana issue go away, or at least puts the remaining advocates in the “we want the marijuana that gets you high” frame where they are more easily dismissed.

Medically, the CBD-Only laws are also a disaster.  Cannabidiol is just one constituent of cannabis and by itself, it doesn’t work as well as it does with the rest of the plant.  Dr. Raphael Machoulem, the Israeli researcher who discovered THC (the cannabinoid that “gets you high”), called it “the entourage effect”, the concept of many cannabinoids and other constituents working in concert, synergistically.  To make an overly-simple analogy, it’s as if we discovered oranges have vitamin C in them, but banned oranges completely and only allowed people with scurvy to eat vitamin C pills.  Yes, those pills can help you if you’re vitamin deficient, but any nutritionist will tell you eating the whole orange will not only allow your body to absorb the vitamin C better, the fiber from the orange is also good for your body, and oranges taste delicious, which makes you a little happier.  Plus, if oranges are in your diet, you’re not going to get scurvy in the first place.

The authors of these CBD-Only bills aren’t writing them for optimal medical efficacy, however, they’re writing them for political cover.  The parents treating their children in Colorado with CBD oil will tell you that it takes quite a bit of tinkering with the ratio of CBD to THC in the oil to find what works best for their child’s type of seizures.  Some of these kids need a higher dose of THC.  But the legislators write the laws mostly to ensure that the THC “that gets you high” is nearly non-existent.

The North Carolina law, for instance, mandates that the oil contains at least 10 percent CBD and less than 0.3 percent THC.  That’s a CBD:THC ratio of at least 34:1.  For comparison, an article by Pure Analytics, a California cannabis testing lab, discusses the high-CBD varietals most in demand by patients are “strains with CBD:THC ratios of 1:1, 2:1, and 20:1.”  The article explains how a breeding experiment with males and females with 2:1 ratios produced 20:1 ratio plants about one-fourth of the time.  It also describes a strain called “ACDC” that “consistently exhibited 16-20% CBD and 0.5-1% THC by weight.”  That’s one variety with a range of 16:1 to 40:1.  But you must only use the ones that are 34:1 or higher.

In another indicator that politicians are more interested in political cover than helping sick kids, many of these laws are written with no mechanism for in-state production and distribution of the CBD oil.  Some expressly protect the parent who goes out of state to acquire the oil (likely from Colorado) and brings it back home.  So parents are given hope for their kids, but they have to go to Colorado, establish three months residency to qualify for a medical marijuana card, clear the hurdles necessary to get their child signed up for the card, purchase the high-CBD oil, break Colorado law by taking it out of state, and break federal law by being an interstate drug trafficker.

Then back home, the parents are safe, assuming the oil they purchased in Colorado meets the CBD:THC ratio mandated by law.  The ratio listed on the label or mentioned by the provider is no guarantee.  At The Werc Shop, a cannabis testing lab in Los Angeles, an intern writes about how she was sold a strain promised to be 15 percent CBD and 0.6 percent THC, a 25:1 ratio that would be illegal in North Carolina if processed into oil.  When she ran liquid chromatography tests on the sample, it turned out to be 9.63 percent CBD to 6.11 percent THC, a 1.6:1 ratio.

CBD-Only isn’t just a political and medical disaster in the states that adopt it.  These laws also have a detrimental effect on the process of passing whole plant medical marijuana in other states.  Every medical marijuana state since California has enacted increasing restrictions on its access based on the need to keep out the illegitimate marijuana users – the ones who just want to get high.  First, qualifying conditions were restricted.  Then, home cultivation of marijuana was eliminated.  Now, medical marijuana laws are being debated and passed that ban all marijuana smoking and allow no access to the plant itself, just pills, oils, and tinctures.

Thus, it is no surprise that as Wisconsin, New York, and Florida are hotly debating and likely to pass whole plant medical marijuana laws, the legislatures and governors of those two states rushed to pass CBD-Only laws first.  It’s reminiscent of then-Govenor Arnold Schwarzenegger rushing to sign a marijuana decriminalization bill in summer of 2010 to take the talking point of California arrests for personal possession away from Prop 19’s campaign to legalize marijuana.  Every press conference and public debate about the CBD-Only bills will emphasize “it doesn’t have the THC that gets you high”, forcing whole plant advocates into a defense of THC’s medical efficacy in spite of the “high” even more than they’re already forced to.

This is why any fight to allow patients to grow whole plant medical marijuana with the high-inducing THC in it must now pivot to the support of all adults’ right to grow marijuana if they want to get high.  Every new restriction on medical marijuana, whole plant or CBD-Only, arises from the perceived need to keep the healthy high-seekers out of the medical marijuana.  Eventually, pharmaceutical companies will perfect the CBD:THC ratios and dosages in sprays, tinctures, and inhalers that will surpass the consistency and efficacy of the plant with its natural variety.  Those companies will be glad to supply the 34:1 CBD oil North Carolina requires and whatever ratio any other state requires, for a hefty profit, of course.

Source: International Cannabis Business Conference


About Author

Executive Director: Russ Belville has been active in Oregon marijuana reform since 2005, when he was elected second-in-command of the state affiliate, Oregon NORML. After four years with Oregon NORML, Russ was hired by National NORML in 2009, working as Outreach Coordinator and hosting the NORML Daily Audio Stash podcast until 2012. Since then, Russ launched the 420RADIO marijuana legalization network and is the host of The Russ Belville Show, a live daily marijuana news talk radio program. Russ is also a prolific writer, with over 300 articles posted online and in print in HIGH TIMES, Huffington Post, Alternet, The Weed Blog, Marijuana Politics, and more.


  1. If one needs the “whole plant” for all it’s benefits as you say,then why not Hemp!– It’s high in the medical CBD and does not get one high from the TCH. VOTE HEMP, not marijuana.

  2. driving high is a danger ot the public..I think they should decriminalize marijuana but make stiffer penalties to account for the added hassle of detecting high driver infractions..so you pass judgement on the guy who gets a little high but the guy with the iron lvier can go out and do 15 shots of JD stumble into a cab home and he isn’t called a criminal by society?

  3. the real reason they want to keep Mary Jane illegal is so that the police and local governments can get it for free while at the same time, “Finding” the “drug dealers” and take credit for the arrest and conviction of that person. the also do not want to let those people out of jail so that they can be sued for the false arrest.

  4. i want paul stam voted out of office even if his stance changes.. i know it will not but i want him out no matter what.. he is a creep, a jerk, a non caring individual, a crook, a liar, a suck up to cash asshole and i want him out.. i want him out today.. i am sick of his kind.. i want him OUT.

  5. CBD is a politicians dream. They can take a picture with the little epileptic girl they partially helped and then go over to the County Jail and take a picture with the sheriff and his latest pile of marijuana, seized from some “hippy scum.”

  6. I think we’ve all had enough of their unlawful actions in telling us what we can and cannot do. That shit is over and needs to end. Screw every single treasonous legislator in this nation. Every damn one of them are indictable under civil racketeering, misappropriation, and therefore treason. But yet still feel the right to tell a bunch of Sovereigns, Kings and Queens what to do? Ahh yeah I think NOT.

  7. It seems that every new cannabis law passed is more ridiculous than the last one. It’s a crazy story. I would say way worse that the state by state differences in alcohol laws. I like the one in New York where you can use vaporized butane hash oil but “oh my God, whatever you do, don’t smoke a joint”. This CBD only story is obviously a political, not a medical issue. The real ratio we should be talking about is not the ratio of THC to CBD but the ratio of good office holders to bastards and the ratio ain’t good.

  8. Great post here. While Dr. Gupta did the community some favors by giving his mainstream stamp of approval to medical cannabis, he did plenty of harm as well by only focusing on CBD and specifically only on Charlotte’s Web. Look at the Florida law simply called the Charlotte’s Web law.

    I made a few of the same posts in my article on The Leaf Online, but not nearly as in depth as you went here. Great post Russ. thanks for this. I’ll be sharing this widely.


  9. Carlito Scapo on

    I agree and even though these laws are being passed in record times they are only including about a thousand children per State. This form as mild as it is could help millions of children but if you have not found any others of the poison they call medicine like Valium, Triliptel, etc. These meds cause children to have diarrhea and hundreds of other side effects and are as legal as Gas. This for of the medicine should be available to all children who suffer from epilepsy as well as childhood cancer but it will only be available to a select few. Cannabis as a whole has always been frowned upon but there is no more denying it’s medical benefits and therefore the biggest issue is when is Our President gonna have it removed from the status of Schedule 1 which refers to a drug that has no medical benefits to a Schedule 2 which refers to a drug that they can tax and control easier?

  10. That’s the weird thing. I periodically check to see what (if any) buzz there is about the potential for a future bill, and also about the Nate Deal’s soft, election year promises to get GW Pharma to conduct clinical trials at GRU with their CBD drug Sue Rusche tried selling those poor desperate parents during the Health Committee hearings.

    There are monthly press releases out of the governor’s office and the office of GRU’s president that the clinical trials are going to happen *very soon*. It’s always *very soon*. And I’m convinced it’s going to be *very soon* for a very, very long time. The presidency of a university like GRU is a political job — Nate Deal and GRU’s president likely rub elbows at many of the same fund raising events. GRU claims they have a faculty member interested in conducting the trials, but they still haven’t broached the issue of how they’re going to convince GW Pharma, a corporation based in the UK, to participate. They already ARE conducting trials, elsewhere! The waiting list for those trials is hundreds of names long, already — there is ample MORAL justification for them to do more, and yet they haven’t.

    Nate Deal and the president of GRU have not given the slightest hint as to what sort of magic wand they’re waiving to convince a corporation in Britain to re-conduct trials in Georgia. What is GW Pharma’s motivation to do so, exactly? Morality? If that was the case, they wouldn’t be charging people so much money for medicine, would they?

    There’s a lot of smoke being generated by Nate Deal about this (when he happens to be facing an election challenge from Jimmy Carter’s grandson, Jason Carter), which only convinces me more that there’s no fire. Nate Deal is going to keep insisting those trials are going to happen *very soon* until his job is safe.

    As for getting a comprehensive bill next year, I cannot say with any certainty. I read recently that a special commission to pursue another bill next year is being headed up by both the original author of HB885, Rep Alan Peake, and the same person who sank the first bill by attaching rider legislation to it, Senate Majority Leader Renee Unterman. That just amazes me in a few ways, as I am uncertain of what that means and how it makes any sense at all. Yes, she’s the Senate Majority Leader — it makes sense for Peake to consult with her on crafting a new bill that the Senate would not amend and send back at the last minute. But she’s the person who *KILLED* the first bill. The rider legislation she attached was well known to be a “non-starter” for the House. Add that to the fact that Peake and Unterman are going to be working closely together to craft a new bill for next year — this all stinks of collusion to me!!!

    I held the belief that Peake was in earnest when he submitted the bill. After all, he is where it all started. Nobody forced him. I still believe Peake had the best of intentions with HB885, but this was his first venture into the world of medical cannabis law. As I said above, it became very obvious to him (and anyone else paying attention) that HB885 wasn’t going to help anyone during the Health Committee hearings. A month later, the bill was killed without anyone voting against it (because of how wildly popular it was).

    It’s within the realm of possibility that Peake and Unterman killed the bill *because* they knew it wasn’t going to help anyone, but *was* going to pass, and passing a lame-duck bill that was totally ineffectual wasn’t the right thing to do. HB885 would have helped, precisely, NOBODY — it had to be stopped, or else another bill would never make any future legislative docket. By then, however, I recall how the political winds had taken over control of the ship. Everyone and their brother supported it, despite the fact that HB885 had all its teeth pulled out. Perhaps Peake knew that his conservative peers weren’t going to approve ANY bill that allowed in-state cultivation, and there was very little time left in the short session to convince them. We’re talking days, maybe a week — no time to sway his peers in the state House and Senate. Perhaps Peake and Unterman killed the bill this past Spring because they DO want to help sick kids.

    Hope springs eternal, doesn’t it? That’s all conjecture, on my part. For all I know, it was a stupid political power play that would make me even more ashamed to live here than I already am, should I learn all the details of the, ehem, “shenanigans.”

    For all I know, I’m totally off-base. I’m simply trying to piece together as many coherent interpretations of the events I’m aware of, and choose from among them the most likely explanation given the evidence. There’s only so much to go on, though, once you’ve separated out the facts of a news article from the opinions (and biases) of its author.

    If Peake *IS* working on a new bill for next session that will actually WORK, then my faith in him will be restored. I’m going to read it inside and out the moment it’s available. Whether or not Peake has solved the “no in-state cultivation” issue is paramount. Odds are good that he’ll have to look at other states that have medical cannabis programs that function, properly — all of which produce their own cannabis, they don’t import it. If and how Peake attempts to solve the problems of HB885 will answer a lot of my questions about his sincerity.

    There was also some anti-climactic news about a senate bill being crafted by one of the Democrats in the chamber, Curt Thompson, at the end of this year’s legislative session, after HB885 had failed. I read SB432, and I have to admit that it’s an incredibly well-written bill that fully outlines a comprehensive medical cannabis program that protects patients AND providers — non-profit dispensaries, in-state cultivation, the works.

    We’ll have to wait and see if Thompson’s bill gets any traction, however. He’s a Democrat, and you may be aware of how often and easily Georgia Republicans mock and belittle common-sense legislation written by Democrats. You may have heard about the flash-bang grenade being thrown into the crib of a baby during a no-knock search? The year before, a bill written by a Democrat that would have made no-knock warrants illegal was lampooned by conservatives and laughed out of both chambers as a “cop killer” bill. Had that bill been law at the time, the grenade never would have landed in the baby’s crib. It never would have been thrown.

    That’s about all I know, at the moment. We won’t know more until after the mid-term elections are over, this year. Be sure to vote, and know who you’re voting for.

  11. Wowfad, I respect your opinion regarding the failed CBD bill in GA. Once it passes do you believe that a Medical Marijuana bill similar to more liberal states such as CA,CO, NM or the like will ever pass and when. I am lifetime GA native with real health problems that cannabis helps. I was able to treat myself while I lived in Humboldt several years ago. Due to illness in my family I had to move back here to the land that Darwin forgot.

  12. No. Russ making a singular (but vitally important) mistake with his facts — that CBD only legislation “started” in Utah in March — was the *ONLY* thing Russ cared about from my original comment. I spent the vast majority of that comment discussing the vital importance of that particular detail — the unfolding of the drama surrounding the ORIGINAL “CBD only” bill. That was main idea of my input. All Russ saw was a snub to his journalistic integrity.

    Well, sorry — I know Russ is the number-one source of useless retrospectives. Where would we be as a community without his 20/20 hindsight? I just thought it would be slightly less useless if his retrospective actually told a story of significance (and got the details straight) instead of burning hundreds of words on a metaphor about orange juice and scurvy. His metaphors are about as useful as preschool flash cards to those of us who were ACTUALLY paying attention to CBD only legislation as it happened.

    And his childish inability to admit fault? Sure makes him sound like an egomaniac to me. Or a child. Both have an over-developed sense of self-importance.

  13. dude! lighten up – I haven’t seen Russ write anything that makes him sound like an egomaniac. look in the mirror

  14. D Steven Ledingham on

    Outstanding and food for thought. You make some great points. I agree, CBD only cannabis will only hold us back. It is just a delaying tactic until CW Pharma can sell us a drug for $1,000 dollars a dose that we can grow for $100.00 in our back yards.

  15. Just because I say one is indicative of the other (that your omission is indicative of national cannabis activism’s ignoring Georgia) giving me a copy of your itinerary of personal appearances from the last several years is not an adequate defense of national cannabis activism having no RECOGNIZABLE presence in the South.

    Sorry, Russ — maybe that means I don’t recognize you passing through Atlanta as being of any significance. Take that how you will. I didn’t hear about it, and I am one of the few who try to pay attention. Deflate your ego.

    Fact is, Paul Armentano didn’t have anything to say about the failing of “CBD Only” legislation until the drama in Georgia was already OVER — and he didn’t even know that when he wrote his article. There aren’t any bill boards, here. Our local activists have to sell shirts to afford gas money and hotel bills to do the few things they can do. NORML hasn’t endorsed a single Georgia candidate since Carter. And when Georgia was on the verge of becoming the first state on the Bible Belt to become a comprehensive medical cannabis state — when the revelations I talked about were playing out in January and FEBRUARY (not March) — nobody could be bothered to pay attention to Georgia (until later, retroactively — should I look up the dates on those articles, Russ?).

    Maybe I should have closed with “you got your facts wrong” instead of opening with it, if you’re going to be such an egomaniac.

  16. Jesus, Russ — you missed my point, entirely. The fact that you *virtually* ignored Georgia in this article about CBD legislation (oh good, the shenanigans got an honorable mention — that’s not the important point) means you don’t understand WHY it was that CBD legislation took off so quickly.

    You’re too busy being butt-hurt about getting a fact incorrect that you’re willing to play fast and loose with what you meant when you said “CBD-Only medical marijuana began in March in Utah” in your THIRD passage. Sorry, but you got your facts wrong. Utah came after Georgia — months later.

    And because your pride is injured, you missed the important details. What happened in Georgia was the blueprint used by every “CBD only” bill across the country. And by “national activists” I was referring to (a) your above mistake with the so-called “start” that you’ve defined quite narrowly, Mr Rutabaga, and (b) Paul Armentano FINALLY writing an article about the terrible shortcomings of “CBD Only” legislation AFTER Georgia’s measure had already been decided.

    It would have been nice had anyone been paying any attention to the story as it happened, WHERE it happened, and HOW. I didn’t spend an hour telling you what, PRECISELY happened in Georgia to obviate HOW MUCH information you were lacking, jack-ass. I was telling you a very important story about how the social conservative script devised to deflate the whirlwind generated by Sanjay Gupta’s documentary was FIRST fine-tuned and executed. In Georgia, where it happened, first.

    But no, that’s apparently not as important as dusting off your itinerary of personal appearances to defend the entirety of national cannabis activism.

  17. Mentioned once, pal:

    “(except Georgia, and that state was only derailed by some parliamentary shenanigans by one legislator)”

    I can’t speak for other national activists, but I care deeply what happens in Georgia. I have appeared in Atlanta three years straight now – name another national activist who has.

  18. Wow, that was harsh. I guess you have a point if you want to define “started” as “first statehouse to discuss it” rather than “first governor to sign it.” Given that my “started” was in the context of a paragraph that charted the passage of whole-plant medical marijuana in California and whole plant’s progression against the passage of the first CBD-Only bill in Utah and CBD-Only’s progression

    Let’s see, I pointed out that Georgia’s bill was killed by political shenanigans, I’ve presented and helped with the past two Southern Cannabis Reform Conferences, I’ve lobbied and protested two other times at the State Capitol… and I’m a national activist from Oregon. I wrote “How One State Senator Killed Georgia CBD Bill”, “This Woman Will Legalize Marijuana in Georgia”, and “Georgia and Kentucky Marching Into the CBD Box Canyon” for HIGH TIMES this year alone. Is that enough of a rat’s tail for you?

  19. Frankly, the fact that Russ didn’t mention Georgia even once in an article about “CBD only” legislation isn’t a good sign. The only way to make national hay over the ineffectiveness and political shill work of these “CBD only” bills is to ensure Georgia gets a comprehensive bill next year that makes very, VERY obvious the failings of HB885 during the 2014 session.

    Georgia’s bill didn’t become law — there’s still a lot of energy down here. The phrase going around Georgia is “we can pass a law that allows guns in church but we can’t help sick kids.” If we got a little NATIONAL attention down here, we could pass a bill next year that isn’t just a Xeroxed copy of HB885. That process could re-ignite the case for medical cannabis and erase all the damage done by the rash of “CBD only” bills we’ve seen across the country.

    But as Russ has demonstrated through his stark omission, our so-called “national” cannabis activists don’t really care about what goes on in the South (and no, Florida doesn’t count).

    Honestly, where do national activists think the beating heart of social conservatism is located? It’s in the SOUTH, where they’re too scared to bring the fight. That’s why “CBD only” took root and why it’s going to be a huge win for cannabis reform opponents — national cannabis activists don’t have the stones to go where the fight *ACTUALLY* is.

  20. Johnny oneye on

    Great points , ending cannabis prohibition 1 state at a time
    “the tipping point”
    These bills will not hold us back
    Crumbs fron congress
    I feel sorry for the families that have to “beg” congress for semi access to medicine that works
    Me thinks GW pharma is behind these cbd bills
    Continued prohibition while gaining exlusive rights to distribute cannabis
    Canada is another example
    Whos guv approved and whos a criminal

  21. Johnny oneye on

    Most people sign these voter initiatives
    People are generally sick of the war on drug’s esp. Cannabis
    I got kicked out of starbux for getting signatures for hemp bill in Ca

  22. Johnny oneye on

    thanx 4 info ,another trick used is media
    Most people dont know or know what is spoonfed by fox news
    New Jersey perfect example
    Ny times , no articles on mmj
    Maybe small article in opinions
    Anyway the distribution of the alleged mmj is politically controlled
    Congress is booze soaked and continues to demonize plant material
    Till they stop demonizing cannabis we will get the same watered down block cheese
    First time I agree with ,99% ,of Russ Rant

  23. Rick Scott you thought we wouldn’t know. Sorry to say most people living in Florida don’t care or know either.
    Vote yes on 2

  24. Russ, if you’re going to talk about the travesty of “CBD only” bills, at least get your facts straight.

    “CBD Only” didn’t start in Utah, in March. The first “CBD only” bill was submitted on January 28, 2014 in the state of Georgia, by State Rep Alan Peake (the Republican representative from Macon-Bibb and Monroe County). It was House Bill 885, aka, Haleigh’s Hope Act — named for Haleigh Cox, a child suffering from intractable epilepsy (who recently relocated to CO with her family, actually).

    Yes, HB885 *was* a direct result of the so-called “Mommy Lobby” going after CBD like it’s the magic solution to all of their issues. After hearing testimony from Haleigh Cox’s mother, Charlotte Figi’s Mother, and one of the Stanley brothers who also was willing to testify at the Georgia State Health Committee meeting about Rep Peake’s bill — after seeing that mother break down and cry because her daughter had stopped breathing for the ump-teenth time *the night before* — I threw my full support behind the bill (even as crappy and as limited as it was) because I had the childishly naive belief (aka, hope) that the bill *MIGHT* help *SOMEBODY*.

    I was wrong. And Russ, you’re incidentally correct in a few ways, but wow man — your finger is so far away from the pulse of these “CBD Only” bills, it’s obvious you spent only as much time following their progress as was necessary to piece together this article. Calling these “CBD Only” bills a disaster is the right way to describe them, but that’s about as “broad side of a barn” as you can get.

    Georgia’s legislative session was ending and HB885 was almost dead before any of the other states mentioned in this article picked up the torch of using “CBD Only” bills to placate their constituents. That’s an important detail because of the realities that were made obvious as HB885 was debated. During the debate of HB885, it was discovered that, even if the bill passed, it would have done NOTHING. The DOJ had just recently issued the eight magic guidelines for states with reformed cannabis laws to follow — one of them says “no cannabis from your state can cross state lines.” And the social conservatives here in Georgia were so scared of Georgia becoming “like California” that HB885 did not allow any in-state cultivation and production. Can’t produce it in-state, can’t import it from another state… The bill was, effectively, useless.

    That was February.

    That’s the catch you missed, Russ. Every OTHER state you mentioned used Georgia’s bill as a model because they knew, WELL in advance (February), that they simply had to forbid any in-state production to make these bills purely symbolic gestures to beat back the flood let loose by Sanjay Gupta’s documentary. After all, the Mommy Lobby is new to cannabis activism, so they don’t know about the “don’t cross state lines” provision. They don’t see a problem importing it from Colorado. And most members of today’s Mommy Lobby grew up in the “just say no” era, and thus, do not question the mantra. They don’t see a problem forbidding in-state cultivation and production.

    That little detail (that the medicine could only be legally produced by UNICORNS) was virtually ignored by the media, the public, and the legislature because of the fever-pitch in Georgia (started by the Mommy Lobby, not cannabis activists) concerning this bill. Crying mothers, scared parents, dying babies — nobody in the Georgia legislature wanted to vote against it (hardly anyone did), but they also didn’t want to be responsible for making Georgia in any way, shape, or form “like California.”

    Almost everyone in both our state House and Senate voted in support of HB885 — either because they were hoping it would help, or because they knew it wouldn’t. I can count the number of nay votes between both chambers on one hand. But the bill still failed. It had to, as it wasn’t going to *ACTUALLY* help anyone, not even the parents who shed tears during the Health Committee hearings. They killed the bill quite expertly, really. The only way to kill an issue that elicits so much sympathy is through political trickery, after all. They waited until the last minute of the short legislative session (primaries this year) for the Senate Majority Leader, a Republican named Renee Unterman, to attach rider legislation she knew the Republican-controlled House wouldn’t approve, so another vote in the House for the amended HB885 was never considered. Bill died instantly, and with almost nobody voting against it.

    The bill wouldn’t have done anything because the Republican author of the bill wouldn’t include local cultivation. The bill was killed because another Republican attached a rider bill. The result? The bill is gone and the issue is in the process being forgotten, and not a single Republican has come under negative fire from the Mommy Lobby for the bill’s failure. Why not? The rider legislation attached to the bill in the Senate was to force insurance companies to cover physical therapy for autistic children through age six. Now, all people remember about HB885 is that one group of sick children were pitted against another group of sick children.

    THERE is the magic recipe for success cannabis opponents in other states saw with HB885. Even if the bills pass, they still fail. The “normal” people (as opposed to the NORML people) will go back to not caring as the memory of both Sanjay Gupta’s documentary fades, and the memory of these “CBD only” bills gets filed away as “didn’t our legislature do something about that?”

    This story began (and ended) in Georgia before the timeframe you mentioned in this article had hardly gotten started. The travesty of these “CBD only” bills is how they were adopted across the country AFTER the bill in Georgia had already been debated into the ground.

    Oh, but I forgot — national cannabis activists don’t give a rat’s tail about my state, despite the fact that 54% of registered Georgia voters want to treat cannabis like alcohol.

  25. Doc Deadhead on

    By quickly passing the CBD only bills they also destroy support for whole plant medical cannabis measures trying to get on the ballots where it is up to the people to decide. The politicians know any measure going to the ballot will pass so they are just trying to squash the support for the measures before that can happen.

    Here is a better idea…..LEGALIZE.

    Become part of your local movement to get this stuff on the ballots at least in your local communities. Something like a dozen cities in Michigan are voting this fall to decriminalize. The big push for state-wide legalization takes more time but these smaller initiatives are do-able.

    Many smaller towns or counties only require a couple hundred or less signatures on a petition in order to get it on a ballot. In my COUNTY it will only take 40 signatures, 30 are the requirement but you will want to get extra!(population about 13,000).

    It’s very easy to get this stuff on ballots with just a tiny bit of organization and planning, it ain’t rocket science!

    Let’s bypass the haters and end prohibition.

  26. I hate CBD Bills because they select who gets treatment and who does not. This is discrimination based on medical needs and hypocritical mentalities, kids with dravettes have been given morphine and xanax to control their seizures, but god forbid that they were to get “high” on a natural substance “Thc” this makes want to puke.

  27. Agreed! VOTE YES on #2! Let the DOCTORS decide which medicine to give NOT the Government!

    Looking to get into the Florida Medical Cannabis Industry? HempStaff will connect employees and employers in the industry, to find the right match!

  28. The 1970 temporary scheduling of cannabis #1 now going on 45 years awaiting studies that never came, were canceled or were ignored I think even Nixon own health secretary Dr Robert Egeberg who was against it and bullied into still todays temporary scheduling #1. I think its temporary scheduling of cannabis needs to end today.

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