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New law makes Georgia medical marijuana more accessible

Medical marijuana has been legal in Georgia in some form since Gov. Nathan Deal signed Haleigh’s Hope Act into law on April 16, 2015. An even older law, passed in 1980, also legalized marijuana. But neither of these bills had practical applications to make medical marijuana widely feasible.

While the 2015 bill made it legal for people with certain medical conditions to possess medical marijuana in the form of oils containing low amounts of THC – the chemical in marijuana that gets you high – it remained illegal to grow or buy marijuana in Georgia.

In essence, medical marijuana patients had to break the law to obtain the marijuana medication they could legally possess.

But a bill passed last month is looking to change that. Signed by Gov. Brian Kemp on April 17, House Bill 324 makes it legal to grow marijuana, produce low-THC oils and sell it. Licensed pharmacies, including chains like CVS and Walgreens, will be allowed to sell the low-THC oil.

Qualifying for medical marijuana

To purchase medical marijuana in the form of oil, you must qualify for a state medical marijuana card. To qualify, you must obtain a physician’s consent and he or she will add you to a registry. The medical marijuana card will then be available for a $25 fee. People with a medical marijuana card then possess up to 20 ounces of low-THC oil.

Georgia law only allows people with certain medical conditions to obtain medical marijuana cards. The conditions include but are not limited to the following:

  • End-stage cancer, or cancer in which the treatment causes nausea or wasting illness
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Seizures related to epilepsy and brain injuries
  • Severe or end-stage multiple sclerosis
  • Autism
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Intractable pain
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder

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