As Georgia lawmakers debate medical marijuana’s impact on fighting the opioid epidemic, University of Georgia professor David Bradford, Ph.D., published a study that proves states with medical marijuana dispensaries prescribe 14.4 percent fewer opioids. Michael Williams, Republican candidate for governor, has championed medical marijuana in the Georgia State Senate as well as campaigned on the issue since entering the race for governor. Williams introduced SB 479 to legalize medical marijuana dispensaries in Georgia and remove the state’s THC limit. Williams issued the following statement on the study findings.
“Medical marijuana is another weapon we can use to fight the opioid epidemic, but lawmakers afraid of political backlash, refuse to embrace its life-saving potential. My legislation could save thousands of lives if scared politicians would stop using sick Georgians as pawns in their quest for power. Once again, the career politicians are wrong. My stance on the issue is proven correct. The less I care about what is ‘politically smart’, and more about doing the right thing, the easier it is to be correct on important matters.”
In Georgia from June of 2016 to May of 2017, the total number of opioids prescribed to Georgia patients surpassed 541 million. That is approximately 54 doses of opioids for every man, woman, and child in Georgia. Georgia is among the top 11 states with the most opioid overdose deaths, and 55 Georgia counties have an overdose rate higher than the national average.