On May 9, 2017, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal signed Senate Bill 16, a medical cannabis expansion bill that adds six new conditions to the list of conditions that qualify for low-thc oil in the state.
With Deal’s signature on SB 16, patients suffering AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease, autism, Tourette’s Syndrome, epidermolysis bullosa and peripheral neuropathy who have been certified by a physician can now apply to the Department of Public Health for a registration card, with the card permitting the patient to possess up to 20 ounces of medical cannabis oil with a maximum of 5% THC. The bill also permits hospice care patients, regardless of diagnosis, to possess the oil.
The six new conditions join the original list of qualifying conditions, including cancer, ALS, seizure disorders related to epilepsy or trauma-related head injuries, mitochondrial disease, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and sickle-cell disease.
“My hope is that in 2018 we can fill the gaping hole that still remains, and provide legal access to medical cannabis oil here in our state with a safe, lab tested product produced within our own borders,” said Rep. Allen Peake, R-Macon, as reported by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.“The job will not be finished until we accomplish this task.”
When Georgia first passed medical cannabis legislation in 2015, the state neglected to create a mechanism for cultivating and distributing low-THC cannabis oil. As a result, Peake has taken it upon himself to obtain and distribute low-THC oil to registered patients across the state. While admirable, Peake’s distribution is likely impractical in the long-term and should prompt state lawmakers to draft an additional medical cannabis expansion bill to solve the problem of in-state cultivation, processing and distribution.