Georgia's Hope Act heads to Gov. Kemp, who is expected to sign it.
Yesterday evening, in the waning hours before the legislature adjourned for 2019, a conference committee hammered out final language to allow safe access to low-THC medical cannabis oil within Georgia. The Senate signed off on the Georgia's Hope Act in a 34-20 vote, while the House vote was 147-16.
The Georgia's Hope Act, HB 324, now heads to Gov. Brian Kemp (R), who is expected to sign it into law.
In 2015, the Georgia General Assembly passed a bill allowing patients to register to possess up to 20 fluid ounces of medical cannabis oil with up to 5% THC. The legislature later expanded the law to include more medical conditions, and more than 8,000 patients are signed up. However, the law didn't include any access to cannabis oil.
Under the Georgia's Hope Act, six producers could cultivate medical cannabis preparations in Georgia, as could two universities. Pharmacies could sell the medical cannabis preparations, and regulators could authorize private dispensaries. (Due to medical cannabis' federal illegality, it is far from certain that universities or pharmacies would participate.)
MPP is grateful to Jacob Eassa, lobbyist with CompassionateGA, who worked hard to get the bill past the finish line and ensure the bill remained workable. We would also like to thank MPP grantee Nora Bushfield of CompassionateGA for their organizing efforts and all the patients and loved ones who spoke out for so many years. And of course, this was only possible due to the leadership of bill sponsor Rep. Micah Gravley (R), former Rep. Allen Peake (R) who championed medical cannabis legislation for years, and all the lawmakers who supported the legislation.
While this is a huge victory, work remains to be done in future legislative sessions to improve the law. It still does not meet MPP's definition of an effective medical cannabis law.