Georgia governor Nathan Deal signed a measure that expands the state’s medical marijuana program into law earlier this year. Senate Bill 16 allows for half a dozen more medical conditions to be eligible for treatment with a limited form of cannabis oil that is allowed in the state, according to the Atlanta-Journal Constitution. The medical conditions include: AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease, autism, epidermolysis bullosa, peripheral neuropathy, and Tourette’s syndrome. The bill also allows patients who are in hospice care to possess cannabis oil.
Prior Medical Marijuana Law
Georgia patients and the children of families registered with the state were granted the ability to possess up to 20 ounces of cannabis oil in 2015 to treat more severe forms of specific illnesses including cancer, epilepsy, and Parkinson’s, among others. The total number of diseases allowed at the time was eight.
The newly signed Senate Bill 16 is a result of a compromise between the state’s legislative chambers that will keep the maximum allowable percentage of THC in cannabis oil to five percent. THC is the component of marijuana that makes those using the drug get high. Originally, Georgia senators proposed lowering the limit to 3%. This reduced limit was proposed despite no law enforcement or public health agencies reporting issues with a higher percentage of THC. Nearly 2,000 patients in the state of Georgia and over 300 physicians have registered with the state to use and administer medical marijuana.
A Trend Across the U.S.
2016 was a landmark year for the marijuana industry. Eight states changed laws on the drug, with four legalizing recreational use while the other four allowing medical marijuana use. Legal pot sales surged in the U.S. to nearly $7 billion. Approximately 60% of the American population favors legalization of marijuana. As of 2017, there are as many as 2,966 medical dispensaries and 3,973 retailers across the country with more than 4,200 marijuana cultivators are in business, according to research conducted by Cannabiz Media. Of note, marijuana use is still prohibited under federal law even though more states continue to legalize the drug for medical and even recreational uses.
If you or someone you know has questions about the law in your state, particularly when it comes to medical and recreational marijuana use, contact a knowledgeable attorney right away.