As first reported by Tom Angell at MassRoots, during a telephone town hall meeting, US Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA) responded to a question from a constituent with multiple sclerosis who asked about his positions decriminalizing or legalizing marijuana.
Sen. Isakson told the woman that he “believe[s] in its use for medical purposes” and that cannabis is “miscalculated in the schedule,” referring to marijuana’s designation as a Schedule I drug by the federal government, alongside drugs like LSD and heroin that are considered dangerous, addictive, and lacking medical value.
But Sen. Isakson also said he is “not for just totally decriminalizing marijuana, however.” He cited the long-debunked gateway drug theory by asserting that “although marijuana doesn’t… everybody that takes it doesn’t become a drug addict… everybody who’s ever a drug addict started with marijuana…”
QUESTION: I would like to know if and how you plan to encourage the decriminalization, legalization, and regulation of marijuana in Georgia? Science has proven that marijuana and CBD has [sic] immense health benefits for millions of Americans, but the legislation in Georgia only allows for severe or end-stage patients to experience those benefits.
I have multiple sclerosis and I’m not categorized as end-stage but it’s still not accessible to me. And my husband has PTSD and a knee injury from his deployment, but he’s not eligible either.
So, we can take narcotics but we can’t take anything like CBD or marijuana to help our ailments. So, how do you plan to move forward on the topic of marijuana and CBD legalization?
ISAKSON: I do think cannabis oil has been proven to be helpful, particularly in strokes and a number of things like that, seizures, and I think what Representative Peake in the House of Representatives in Georgia has tried to do to expand Georgia’s access to cannabis oil is a good thing.
Decriminalization is a broad subject. I think, I don’t think… I think marijuana – the cannabis oil derived from marijuana – can be helpful and under regulation for medical purposes should be allowed.
I’m not for just totally the criminalizing marijuana, however, because I think although marijuana doesn’t – everybody that takes it doesn’t become a drug addict, as I’ve heard many people say, everybody who’s ever become a drug addict started with marijuana, and we don’t want to start that foundation or make it too easy to get.
And I’ve been to Colorado and I have some friends in the legislature in Colorado, as well as in the United States Senate, who talk to me about the problems it has contributed in their state as well.
So, I believe in its use for medical purposes that have been documented. I believe cannabis oil is something we ought to regulate from a medical standpoint for access. But total decriminalization of marijuana I would not support.
QUESTION: Okay, just for a follow-up, sort of comment; then you should consider declassifying it, then, or making it a lesser classification. Because right now it’s still classified with…
ISAKSON: Schedule One…
QUESTION: …Extremely addictive drugs, right, exactly. So, at least help patients first.
ISAKSON: I agree with that. On the schedule, in the scheme of things, it’s miscalculated in the schedule.
QUESTION: I agree. Thank you.