Created: Tue, 08 Jul 2014 10:31:00 EST
Updated: Wed, 09 Jul 2014 01:36:32 EST
AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) - Georgia's governor is pushing clinical trials for a marijuana-derived drug that proponents say could help treat severe seizure disorders among children.
It's a surprising election-year move for a Republican in a conservative part of the country that is just beginning to warm up to medical marijuana under very narrow circumstances.
So far, 23 states and the District of Columbia have legalized comprehensive access to medical marijuana, and two have decriminalized the drug entirely. But the South has largely resisted because of fears it could lead to widespread abuse.
This year, though, six Southern states adopted laws establishing limited access to marijuana products that have minimal or no THC, the psychoactive compound that makes users feel high. A similar effort in Georgia failed, which prompted Gov. Nathan Deal to coordinate the clinical trials.