Medical Marijuana

Gov. Brian Kemp signs Georgia’s Hope Act bill into law

Registered patients will have safe, in-state access to low-THC oil.

Yesterday, Gov. Brian Kemp (R) signed the Georgia’s Hope ActHB 324 — into law. At long last, patients will be able to safely access low-THC medical cannabis oil within Georgia.

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 will be allowed to cultivate medical cannabis preparations in Georgia, as could two universities. Pharmacies will 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.) It is expected to take at least a year before legal sales begin.

You can check out MPP’s summary of the law here.

MPP is grateful to CompassionateGA, and its lobbyist Jacob Eassa, for their advocacy efforts and to all the patients and loved ones who spoke out for so many years. We also appreciate the leadership of bill sponsor Rep. Micah Gravley (R) and former Rep. Allen Peake (R) and all the lawmakers who supported the legislation.

Stay tuned for updates during implementation, along with next year’s efforts to improve the law.

Read more

Medical Marijuana

Ga. patients: Help push back on ill-conceived measure to import low-THC oil

If you live in Georgia, click here to call the lieutenant governor right now and tell him Georgia's patients deserve better!

 

Over the past several days, MPP has learned of an absurd proposal that would require Georgia to import low-THC oil from other states rather than allowing in-state production. This is a seriously flawed solution. Not only would federal law enforcement authorities refuse to authorize such a scheme, no other states allow out-of-state exports. Georgia patients will again be left on their own.

Patients lives are in the balance. Call Lt. Gov. Duncan right now and tell him Georgia should not waste time with unworkable proposals for patients.

It is likely this idea will be considered in committee tomorrow, so it is critical the lieutenant governor hear from you before 1:00 p.m. tomorrow. If you plan to call and you haven't already, don't delay!

Since passage of its low-THC oil program in 2015, patients have technically had permission to possess oil, but it has been illegal for them to obtain it from any source. The state is looking for a solution, and lawmakers are considering measure HB 324, which would create a program similar to 33 other states across the U.S. See our summary here. Ideas like interstate trafficking only serve to undermine realistic proposals like HB 324.

If you haven't called the lt. governor already, please do so now. Follow this link and call today to tell him you won't allow it.

Then, pass this email to friends, family, and other medical cannabis supporters in Georgia.

Read more

Medical Marijuana

Georgia House passes bill allowing in-state cultivation and processing of low-THC cannabis oils

If you live in Georgia, click here to voice your support for HB 324 with your state senator.

Rep. Micah Gravley's bill, HB 324, which would allow in-state cultivation, processing, and sale of low-THC oil in Georgia, took major step forward this week when it passed the Georgia House of Representatives on a vote of 123 to 40. If the measure becomes law, the state would provide welcome relief for patients, who today can possess low-THC oil, but are denied any way to access it in-state.

If you support a well-regulated program to cultivate, process, and provide low-THC cannabis products for patients, click here to tell your state senator!

For a summary of many of the bill's provisions, click here. This year's bill follows a legislative study commission's recommendation published in late 2018. That study, now available online, recommended state-licensed producers to cultivate and process cannabis plants into low-THC oil, along with a limited number of retail sales locations.

Please add your voice to the large majority of Georgians who support in-state access. Patients should not have to wonder where their medicine will come from or be exposed to criminal penalties importing low-THC oil from other states. It's time for a better solution.

Please forward this message to family, friends, and supporters in your network!

Read more

Medical Marijuana

Iowa: Medical marijuana sales begin; reforms still needed

On Saturday, December 1, Iowa’s first medical marijuana dispensary opened to the public. MedPharm opened in Windsor and will sell low-THC oil to qualifying patients. Unfortunately, MedPharm may only sell medical marijuana oil, and the oil may not contain more than three percent THC.

While this reform is an important victory for some patients, most seriously ill Iowans will be left behind. Many patients find greater amounts of THC are crucial to the relief they need from their medical conditions, and this severely limited program does not go far enough.

Iowa patients deserve better. Please email your lawmakers and ask them to support a comprehensive medical marijuana program.

Read more

Medical Marijuana

Georgia PTSD and intractable pain patients may now enroll in low-THC oil program

Georgians suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and those with intractable pain may begin signing up for the state’s low-THC oil program. A bill passed earlier this year, House Bill 65, went into effect on July 1, adding these two serious conditions.

Intractable pain is devastating and is often defined as constant and excruciating. Those who experience it sometimes turn to reliance on opioid medications. While low-THC oil may not replace opioids for these patients, many have found medical cannabis products can allow them to use fewer opioids by reducing pain levels, helping patients maintain appetite and serving as a sleep aid. It can be an important new tool in a treatment program.

Many who suffer from PTSD can also find relief through use of medical cannabis products. This debilitating disease can affect all aspects of a person’s life, and like intractable pain, pharmaceutical drugs used to treat the condition can themselves cause harm. Veterans and those experiencing PTSD deserve a safer alternative.

The state’s program has grown in recent years, but Georgia’s limited, low-THC approach remains flawed. While patients have some protections, there is no regulatory system behind production or sale, leaving access to cannabis in the shadows. We hope Georgia can improve its program when lawmakers reconvene in 2019.

While short of a complete solution, these changes are welcome.

Read more