On Tuesday the Georgia House passed a bill that seeks to make sense of a law that is already on the books, but almost impossible to fulfill, and voted 123-40 to allow medical marijuana oil to be sold to registered patients who obtain a valid prescription.
Technically medical marijuana is already legal in Georgia, and has been since 2015, but currently it’s against the law to grow, buy, sell or transport the drug, leaving patients no permissible method of obtaining it. The bill changes that, making provision for the establishment of sixty new dispensaries that would be allowed to grow, manufacture, test and distribute marijuana oil to the 9,000+ patients who already have physician approval to make use of it to relieve conditions ranging from cancer to seizure disorders and more.
The bill does not seek to legalize any other form of marijuana production and does not seek to legalize the drug for recreational use. Speaking to the media after the vote state Rep. Micah Gravley, a Republican from Douglasville said ” These aren’t people who are seeking a recreational high. These aren’t people who are seeking to use illicit drugs, these are people who have tried and failed with opioids. These are people who want their children to suffer less seizures.”
The measure, House Bill 324, now advances to the state Senate. Gov. Brian Kemp has gone on the record stating that he personally is very open to “research-based expansion” of medical marijuana. Others are less keen however, with many civic and church leaders fearing that the bill will open the door to the legalization of recreational use marijuana. And not even the police in the state can agree on their position on the issue, with some coming out against the move.
Speaking to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Terry Norris, the executive director of the Georgia Sheriffs’ Association said; : The path Georgia is taking now is a very treacherous and dangerous path. The sheriffs are serious when they say that marijuana is a dangerous, addictive gateway drug. Even though we’re not taking about legalizing for recreational purposes, we believe all the notoriety of this discussion will lead to increased marijuana use by children.”
The bill does not however allow for the vaping or smoking of the marijuana plant itself – as is the case in some other states – but only for the creation and distribution of 5% THC oil. THC is the ‘active’ ingredient in cannabis.