Dale Jackson contemplates governor seat
By Melanie Ruberti
ATLANTA – Dale Jackson was one of the few on hand in the State Capitol on Tuesday when Governor Nathan Deal signed SB 16 into law.
The amendment officially added Autism, AIDS, Alzheimer’s Disease, Peripheral Neuropathy, Tourette’s Syndrome and patients with diseases in hospice care facilities to the state’s medicinal marijuana registry. These patients are now legally allowed to use cannabis oil to ease their symptoms.
It was a hard-fought, bittersweet victory for Jackson, whose nine-year-old son, Colin, suffers from a severe form of Autism.
Jackson is preparing for future battles in the state legislature and said he is “contemplating” running for the governor or lieutenant governor seat in 2018.
“My main objective for the next few months is to sit down and talk with all the individuals running for state offices,” Jackson told the Daily News in an exclusive interview on Wednesday, May 10. “I want to find a ‘champion’ for our cause. If I am unable to find someone that I am confident will be able to champion our cause, then I will be forced to explore options myself.”
Jackson’s cause is ultimately to pass a referendum that would allow patients “safe access” to medicinal marijuana in Georgia, and create statewide cultivation labs.
It is a measure Jackson believes Governor Deal will not sign into law.
Deal’s second term as governor ends in 2018. Jackson hopes the successor will be open to the referendum, whether it is Jackson sitting in the state’s highest seat, or someone else.
“A true champion gets things done,” Jackson stated firmly. “That’s whether you’re the governor, lieutenant governor or legislator.”
State Rep. John Pezold (R-Columbus) and State Senator Josh McKoon (R-Columbus) have both reportedly indicated they will not seek re-election for their respective seats in 2018.
According to Jackson, numerous people have asked him to run for either position.
“As a father of a special needs child and business owner, I would be honored to hold either of those positions,” he said. “But I am first going to interview and find a champion for our cause, and possibly explore other options.”
Jackson was not shy in stating what his primary focus will be for the 2018 legislative session.
“The next step is to get a safe access program established in Georgia,” he said. “Our efforts next year will be to pass that ballot referendum. The good news is that Governor (Deal) can’t veto that. It doesn’t go to his desk, it would be signed by the new governor.”
Jackson has until March of 2018 to decide whether or not he will run for state office.
Melanie Ruberti is a reporter with LaGrange Daily News. She can be reached at 706-884-7311, ext. 2156.