Georgia passes medical marijuana bill but don’t fire up yet

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During the last day of the Georgia State Legislature, a bill on the use of medical marijuana in the state has finally passed. Senate Bill 16 is a revision of an earlier bill that expands the use of low-THC oil to treat certain medical conditions for patients in the state. The bill summary reads:

“A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Article 8 of Chapter 12 of Title 16 and Code Section 31-2A-18 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to the regulation of low-THC oil and the establishment of the Low THC Oil Patient Registry, definitions, purpose, registration cards, quarterly reports, and waiver forms, respectively, so as to change the definition of low-THC oil; to change provisions relating to conditions eligible for use of low-THC oil; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.”

The medical marijuana bill expands the use of cannabis oil for patients with Alzheimer’s disease, AIDS, autism, epidermolysis bullosa, peripheral neuropathy and Tourette’s syndrome. Patients in hospice care also could also possess the oil. But it does not mean you can smoke or possess the plant for treatment of your ailments. In fact, the level of THC, the active ingredient that produces a high, is so low that a person generally will not get high from the drug. Cannabis oil is an extraction of the cannabinoids (CBD), the chemical compounds secreted by cannabis flowers that provide relief to an array of symptoms including pain, nausea, anxiety, and inflammation, according to the website

Supporters of the new bill are hailing it as a victory for suffering patients. “Today we’re going to provide more access to Georgians with very specific illnesses. … And we’ll provide doctors more treatment options for patients,” said state Sen. Matt Brass.

The city of Atlanta is currently trying to get an ordinance passed that will decriminalize the possession of less than an ounce of marijuana. Currently in Atlanta, possessing a small amount of marijuana can result in a $1K fine and incarceration of up to six months. The mayor of the nearby Atlanta suburb of Clarkston, Georgia, has already decriminalized possession of marijuana to a citation, no jail time and a $75 fine. Mayor Ted Terry told Atlanta City Council members that the new attitude in his city has not resulted in a drug haven, despite concerns of critics. The council is split on the issue and many members do not want to be seen as being soft on drug use or crime.  Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed has expressed opposition to the city council proposal.

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