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Georgia Expands Medical Cannabis Program

A bill expanding the use of cannabis oil in the U.S state of Georgia was signed into law yesterday by Governor Nathan Deal.

The announcement is expected to generate a significant increase in registered patients. At the time of the bill’s signing, just 1,738 patients and 354 doctors were registered with Georgia’s Low THC Oil Registry program.

The bill adds six conditions to a list of eight already qualifying. The new additions are:

  • Severe Tourette’s syndrome
  • Autism
  • Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB)
  • Severe Alzheimer’s disease
  • Severe AIDS
  • Severe peripheral neuropathy

Hospice patients that have been authorized by their physicians to use medical cannabis oil will also be permitted to  use low THC cannabis oil.

Other changes that are now law include reciprocity of medical cannabis registration cards issued in other US states, assuming any cannabis oil possessed meets Georgia’s legal standards – and as long as the person hasn’t been in the state for more than 45 days.

Additionally, eligibility requirements will no longer include criteria that a patient must have lived in Georgia for at least a year in order to qualify for the registry.

State Representative Allen Peake, champion of Senate Bill 16, is very happy with the result.

“With Governor Deal’s signature today, Georgia’s medical cannabis program takes another positive step forward,” said Rep. Peake.

Mr. Peake has been a supporter of medical cannabis in Georgia for some years. It appears he was especially moved in 2014 after hearing testimony from those seeking cannabis oil.

Previous legislation drafted by Representative Peake allowing for low THC cannabis oil was passed in early 2015.

The state continues to have very tough penalties for marijuana possession. As little as two ounces is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

Georgia law only authorizes the legal possession of up to 20 fluid ounces of low THC oil by registered persons. The cannabis oil can no contain no more than 5% THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), and it must contain a CBD (cannabidiol) level at least equivalent to the amount of THC.

Cultivation of medical cannabis within the state, processing it, and sale of products is not permitted, so patients need to purchase medicinal cannabis oil from outside of Georgia.

Terry Lassitenaz
Terry Lassitenaz writes exclusively for Hemp Gazette and has done so since the site launched in 2015. He has a special interest in the political arena relating to medical cannabis, particularly in Australia, and addressing the many myths surrounding this incredibly useful plant. You can contact Terry here.

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