Georgia Governor Expands Qualifying Conditions for Cannabis Program

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal signed an amendment into state law on Monday that expands its list of qualifying conditions for patients who choose to treat their health issues with cannabis oil.

House Bill 65, which changed the medical cannabis regulation in the state to include patients with intractable pain and post-traumatic stress disorder. Beginning in July, those patients can apply for a Low THC Oil Registry card. Since 2015, Georgia has allowed for patients or guardians of patients with qualifying conditions to possess up to 20 ounces of low-THC oil without persecution. The cannabis oil must contain less than five percent THC to be protected in the state.

“Georgians understand that many families depend on medical cannabis oil to treat otherwise debilitating illnesses,” said Lt. Governor Casey Cagle when the bill passed the state Senate in late March. “We must make certain that government does not stand in the way of what patients and their physicians agree will improve their quality of life. I fully support implementing a safe, secure and reliable in-state system for patients to access low-THC medical cannabis oil. This legislation will provide a path to make that a reality. It also erases politics from the process that qualifies conditions for doctors to prescribe this medication.”

There are currently about 4,000 patients registered to qualify for cannabis oil in the state. Qualifying conditions include autism, severe or end stage AIDS, Tourette’s syndrome, Multiple Sclerosis, cancer, seizures and other conditions.

Unfortunately, the House did not pass HB-645, which would have allowed for the harvest and distribution of cannabis oil in the state.

Since Georgia does not allow or regulate cultivation or imports of cannabis into the state, Georgia patients still have to technically break laws to obtain the cannabis oil.

However, passage of HB-65 requires the Joint Commission of Low THC Medical Oil Access to consult with medical experts and research practices which are successful in other states to determine the way forward for Georgia and cannabis regulation. A 15-member study commission will be evaluating manufacturing, labeling, dispensing, testing and manufacturing.

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