Georgia’s weed bill was signed by governor Nathan Deal on Thursday, April 16, making medical marijuana legal for patients with certain conditions.
“For the families enduring separation and patients suffering pain, the wait is finally over,” Deal said in a statement.
The new law, which takes effect immediately, will allow the use of a non-smoking form of medical marijuana for nine different medical conditions, according to WSB-TV.
Those conditions include:
- Seizure disorders due to epilepsy or head injury
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Crohn’s Disease
- Mitochondrial Disease
- Severe Parkinson’s Disease
- Severe or end stage Sickle Cell Disease
- Severe Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
- Severe or end stage cancer
According to Yahoo News, Deal explained that the patients who complete the screening process will be provided with documentation by their doctors that will allow them to possess cannabis oil with low percentages of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the chemical in marijuana that causes a “high.”
The bill has been two years in the making, and was dubbed the Haleigh’s Hope Act, in honor of a young girl named Haleigh who endured hundreds of seizures a day. Even with five different medications, they could not get the seizures under control. Haleigh’s mom, Janea Cox, had to make the difficult decision to uproot her family to Colorado so that they could obtain cannabis oil, the only thing that seemed to help Haleigh at all.
“Every time she smiled I knew we did the right thing, because we hadn’t seen her smile in three years,” Cox said, according to HLNTV. “Now she’s thriving, she’s healthy, she’s happy, and they’re absolutely shocked at the difference. So I think we’ve turned some nonbelievers into believers of cannabis oil.”
The Department of Public Health will be working with law enforcement officers to ensure the system is secure and that officers know what to look for when they encounter a patient carrying the cannabis oil.
It is still currently illegal to grow and buy marijuana in Georgia, but state Representative Allen Peake said that there are some pharmaceutical companies that will ship low-THC oil to Georgia. However, there will be some patients that will be forced to purchase the marijuana in states that legally sell it, such as Colorado. The approved patients will be allowed to possess 20 ounces of the low THC oil at any given time.
Georgia is the 12th U.S. state to approve the non-euphoric marijuana oil, Allen St. Pierre, executive director of the pro-marijuana group NORML, said.
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