On February 3, 2015, I followed my internship supervisor to a hearing on whether to legalize or prohibit cannabidiol (CBD) oil in the state of Georgia and witnessed how sausage is made in politics. Although we arrived at the Georgia State Capitol a few minutes early to find seats in the main room, we landed on the wrong floor and obliviously wasted twenty minutes on a different meeting. By the time we found the appropriate location, the main room was already crammed, and we were forced to join the overflow. The live-stream constantly lagged, and we had to resort to using a stranger’s cell phone for faster Internet. Half an hour following, the main room opened up, letting us spend a solid two hours behind the Judiciary Non-Civil Committee.
I assumed more attendees than not came to support CBD oil, just like the eleven states that legalized it last year, but I was astounded by the blatant bias of the committee members towards supporting speakers. The representatives remained respectful and patiently waited until each proponent finished sharing his case whereas continuously interrupted and even insulted every opponent in a condescending tone. When an adversary mentioned the downfall of Colorado since its marijuana legalization, a representative I will not name vulgarly intruded and asserted using Colorado or other marijuana-friendly states to hypothesize the potential consequences of Georgia did not make sense. This may have been one of the most ignorant claims I have heard since I began interning at anti-marijuana organizations. If we refuse to use the statistics, studies, and results of marijuana states to predict what could happen to other states attempting to legalize marijuana, what would be a wiser and more accurate method of anticipating? Just guessing based on prejudice? I hate to quote Nancy Grace, but this representative was practically stating, “Why don’t we start a problem so that we can fix it?” Another representative whose name I will also not reveal did not ask any relevant question in the two hours of the sitting but rather only devoted his energy into disagreeing with foes.
A couple of advocates sat behind me, and I could overhear their hysterically uneducated responses. When a supporting speaker argued that equal amounts of CBD and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) implies the user will not become high, they praised the fantasy. However, when an opponent refuted that CBD does not completely invalidate the effect of THC, one of them shamelessly reacted, “That’s stupid.” In reality, how quickly THC enters the body determines whether or not CBD mitigates the high. Many individuals believe if they say anything that disapproves of the speaker without any reason to back them up, such as “What?” or “That’s stupid,” they by default appear intelligent; in truth, this only embarrasses them by unveiling their blindness. Because I could not give National Families in Action a bad name, I kept my mouth shut until every participant left sight. Georgia will likely permit CBD oil sooner or later, so a large part of me wishes this obdurate decision would cause a permanent disaster just so I can laugh at the smug committee members’ faces when they wail in shame. Actually, they would not care either way.