This article was posted to Rare .
August 2, 2014
4-year-old Haleigh Cox suffers from Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, a rare epileptic condition. Her family had to move to Colorado due to Georgia’s inability to make legal marijuana available to her.
Kurt Wallace: This is Kurt Wallace and our guest today on Rare is Doug Craig, the Chairman of the Libertarian Party of Georgia. Doug thanks for being with us today.
Doug Craig: Well, Kurt I sure do appreciate it.
Kurt Wallace: Well Doug, the Libertarian Party has put out a press release talking about the legalization of marijuana in Georgia. There’s a lot of things to consider around this but tell us what your position is at the Libertarian Party?
Doug Craig: Our position is that we’re looking for the full legalization of marijuana. I would love medical marijuana if that was the first step but in my mind a free person should have the freedom to choose what they ingest in their body.
And we’ve got Governor Deal here in Georgia who cannot seem to keep his house straight but wants to be able to come to my house and tell me how to run it. As an adult I think I have that capability and I think all adults have that capability in making that choice and the correct choice. Are they gonna make mistakes? Yes! But if you’re free you should go make that choice.
If your doctor and a patient, that should be between you guys not between you and the government.
Kurt Wallace: There’s a lot of talk on Capitol Hill here in Georgia. There’s a bill HB 885, it’s become known as the Haleigh’s Hope Act. Young girl, four years old, from Forsyth, Georgia. Her family moved to Colorado because she was 100 seizures a day and they believe that medical marijuana could help treat this suffering child.
Doug Craig: Well, some of the folks at Peachtree Care Group (Georgia CARE) and also Peachtree NORML have really been doing a great job of going out there and educating people on HB 885. I wrote an endorsement letter when we had that bill go through this past year. I would love to see a medical marijuana bill. That one there was that’s not the one that would be perfect but it would be better than what we have.
Again it’s one of those things where I don’t consider myself the smartest guy in the room, I consider you the smartest person in the room. You’ve got to be able to make that decision between you and your doctor and your child. If you’ve got a kid who’s four years old and is sick. You want to be able to try everything possible that your doctor recommends. Everything possible, you do not need to have a Governor Deal being the middle man in that relationship. And right now Georgia thinks they should be the middle man between you and your doctor.
And it’s funny because if you ask any conservative or any Republican about Obamacare they’ll tell you it’s straight up your decision on where you get your medical care. But when it comes to medical marijuana they are quick to tell you ‘Oh no, we need to have it regulated, you are not smart enough, you shouldn’t be doing it’. Well libertarians will tell you, ‘you’re smart enough to make that decision, you can’ and we don’t think we should be involved in that decision. Where the GOP and some of the other folks even Democrats think they should be involved in that decision-making.
Kurt Wallace: Well, this looks like Georgia may be the next front line for legalizing marijuana across the board. Rand Paul is actually working on this in DC saying that the war on drugs has racial outcomes and it hurts poor people and minorities because of the ease of arresting non-violent drug offenders. There’s a major expense to taxpayers in Georgia for maintaining this “War on Drugs” or what I like to call the “War on Drug Addicts.”
Doug Craig: Well, it is amazing. My shop is in downtown East Point. Which if anybody’s from the Atlanta area we are on the bad side of Atlanta. I typically work with a lot of inner city kids. We do a lot of interns here with the local high school. It is amazing how many folks that work with me have been harassed have been pull over, have been asked for I.D. and it’s all over the war on drugs.
But now when you go to my little community in my nice little subdivision, you can’t meet a person who’s ever been asked for their I.D. or asked can their car be searched. You see it over and over in the inner city. And there is a racial aspect to this and also an income issue with this. I do believe sometimes when a police officer do not believe that you can afford a lawyer that they’re much more likely to go after you and harass you when it comes to this kind of stuff. And it needs to stop.
There’s no reason why a person should be harassed as an 18-year-old black with a nice car in downtown Atlanta. And we see it over and over – guys being harassed. I’ve got a young kid that works for me who got pulled over, they had two joints in the car they had cashed their paycheck and a BB-gun. They locked him up as a drug dealer with a gun to commit a felony. With a BB-gun and $500 worth of cash. And that kid if he pleads out will be a drug dealer.
Kurt Wallace: There is a legislative study committee that’s gonna be held sometime in August could you tell us a little bit about this and what this means for Georgia?
Doug Craig: Well, I have seen the folks from Peachtree NORML are heading that up and they’ve sent invitations for me to go. It looks like a premise to educate folks to move forward to get the state legislation and the state senators to get on board with this. Georgia was very close to passing a medical bill last year for this past year under the dome. So, I think their goal is to continue to work with these folks. Some of these folks have already voted ‘yes’ on one bill and I think once you get them to vote yes one time it’s much easier to get them to vote yes a second time.
But also when you meet these young children who have seen their health improve when their doctor prescribes this it hard to vote against it. And like I said Peachtree NORML and some of the other folks are doing a great job of going out here and educating these state house and state senators on this issue. And you know the Libertarian Party I would love to say that we’ve been at the forefront of this here in Georgia. But it’s really been some of those folks at Georgia Care and Peachtree NORML. The Libertarian Party in the last year has gotten a little more active in assisting these guys and riding their coattails and I really wish that we had been more active the last five years than we have been.
Kurt Wallace: Doug Craig chairman of the Libertarian Party of Georgia thanks for being with us today on Rare.
Doug Craig: Kurt I really appreciate the time and thank you for letting us get a chance to put our issues out there.
Mr. Wallace is the host of Rare talk radio, and is a father, writer and “liberty propagandist.” He currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia. Follow him on Twitter @KurtWallace