Timothy O. McCalep

Bill expanding medical marijuana program in Georgia approved by both houses

Last week, Congress gave final approval to a medical marijuana bill that expands Georgia's medical marijuana law. The aim of the measure is to provide expanded access to marijuana treatment for those who have certain conditions.

Under the state's 2015 law, registered patients and families are allowed to possess as much as 20 ounces of low THC cannabis oil to treat a total of eight severe diseases, a total of eight. These include Chron's disease, mitochondrial disease, and severe or end stage Parkinson's disease, Lou Gehrig's disease, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, sickle cell disease and cancer. Current law limits the THC content of cannabis oil to a maximum of 5 percent.

Under the bill, six additional conditions would be eligible for treatment with cannabis oil. These include Alzheimer's disease, AIDS, autism, Tourette's syndrome, peripheral neuropathy, and epidermolysis bullosa. Hospice care patients would be able to use cannabis oil as well, and a 45-day period would be allowed to out-of-state patients to use marijuana for medical purposes, provided they have a registration card from another state and a condition that may be treated with a form of marijuana oil permitted under Georgia law.

The bill still has to be signed by Governor Nathan Deal.

Those who choose to use marijuana for medical purposes in Georgia need to have a solid understanding of the rules and the process for registering in order to avoid potential criminal liability. In our next post, we'll look a bit more at these rules, and how an experienced attorney can help those facing drug charges as a result of medical marijuana use.

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