Yesterday, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal (R) signed a bill that will significantly expand the number of patients who qualify for the state's low-THC medical cannabis oils. Beginning on July 1, HB 65 will allow patients with intractable pain and adults with PTSD to qualify for the program, which allows registered patients to possess cannabis oils with no more than 5% THC content.
Georgia’s most passionate legislative champion of medical cannabis — Rep. Allen Peake (R) — sponsored both HB 65 and another bill — HB 645 — which would have allowed in-state production of cannabis oils. Currently, registered patients have nowhere to legally purchase cannabis oils in Georgia. Unfortunately, HB 645 didn’t receive a floor vote. However, HB 65 includes a study commission on in-state access to cannabis. Seriously ill patients who are already granted the ability to possess cannabis products clearly need a way to obtain them without sidestepping the law.
This is Rep. Peake’s last year in the legislature; he announced in February that he will not run for re-election. His leadership will be missed in the capital!
Yesterday, Georgia lawmakers began their work in 2018, and they are again considering improvements to the state’s medical marijuana program. Two bills, HB 645 and HR 36, have been proposed to establish much-needed medical cannabis access for patients.
If you are a Georgia resident, please send a message to your state lawmakers in support of a workable system that includes cultivation, processing, and sales within Georgia for the state’s seriously ill patients.
Georgia has a very limited medical marijuana law, but prohibits in-state cultivation, processing, and regulated sales of medical cannabis. Georgia’s law encourages patients to obtain medicine through illicit means. It leaves patients with no option but to travel out of state for access to their medicine and bring it back, which is a violation of both federal law and of state law in places where medical cannabis is available. The law puts Georgians in harm’s way.
Rep. Allen Peake, long a champion for compassionate medical marijuana laws, is working on two possible solutions. First, HB 645 would allow two cannabis business licensees to grow, process, and sell medical cannabis oil. Meanwhile, HR 36 would allow lawmakers to place the issues of business regulations before voters in November.
The Georgia government enacted an ineffective law last year that was intended to provide relief to patients with epilepsy, but which didn't provide for a source of medical marijuana within the state.
Since then, state Rep. Allen Peake (R) publicly admitted to illegally transporting medical marijuana from Colorado to Georgia to help some parents with epileptic children, and he's now pushing hard to fix the ineffective law by legalizing dispensaries for patients to purchase medical marijuana.
If you are a Georgia resident, please tell your lawmakers to support a workable medical marijuana bill.
Rep. Allen Peake, who championed Haleigh's Hope Act in 2015, is prefiling HB 722, which would greatly improve on last year’s legislation. Most importantly, the bill would allow regulated cultivation, processing, testing, and dispensing of medical cannabis in Georgia — protecting families and seriously ill patients who otherwise have to risk breaking laws to get access.
Currently, the more than 400 patients in Georgia are required to travel out of state to obtain much-needed medicine. Traveling out of state is a huge risk, since law enforcement officials in other states treat them like criminals. In addition to this critical change, HB 722 would also remove the current cap on THC. Since the vast majority of medical marijuana patients in the U.S. count on THC for medical benefit, the bill would provide meaningful access for a broad range of qualified patients in Georgia.
Rep. Peake has once again stepped forward on behalf of patients, and he deserves our appreciation and support.
If you are a Georgia resident, please contact your legislator today and make sure they know you want their support for HB 722.
On Thursday, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal signed into law HB 1, the Haleigh’s Hope Act. This new law, which was sponsored by Rep. Allen Peake, will allow qualified patients to legally possess up to 20 fluid ounces of low-THC cannabis oils with their doctors’ recommendations. While this is an improvement to current law, it leaves the vast majority of medical marijuana patients without legal protections for using and possessing the medicine their doctors think is best for them. It also forces patients to smuggle the oil back from other states in which medical marijuana products can be legally produced.
If you are a Georgia resident, please email your lawmakers today. Thank them for taking this modest first step, and encourage them to support a more comprehensive medical marijuana program.
Georgia took a step forward this year, but the law is so incomplete that MPP will not be counting it as a “medical marijuana state.” Nonetheless, in some ways HB 1 is better than the 12 other CBD-focused laws: It includes eight medical conditions, while most of the other CBD laws only protect patients with intractable epilepsy, and it allows up to 5% THC, which is more than most of the other states with CBD-focused laws.
For more information, please see our summary of the law.