After Georgia Governor Nathan Deal signed a bill expanding the state’s two-year-old medical cannabis program on May 6, hundreds of citizens have signed up for access to low-THC oil.
As of the end of June, the total number of participants is now 2,162. However, even though people with a qualifying medical condition can now legally own the oil, they cannot yet legally bring it in to the state.
Access to medical marijuana is now legal in 29 states. Representative Allen Peake is trying to change that by introducing a bill allowing cannabis to be grown and processed in-state, by giving a license to cannabis producers, preferably to public colleges and universities.
With almost 500 children already registered, he is strongly supported by parents’ groups, and often gives away bottles of (donated) THC oil to families who need it.
“Peake’s in-state license would instantly eliminate the black market and regulate cannabis, allowing for greater access to those patients who need it,” said Attorney Larry Kohn. “Right now, Georgians are being hurt by their lack of access and lack of options.”
However, there is opposition from the governor, as well as the police and some conservatives, claiming the state law would conflict with federal law. Virginia Galloway, regional director for the Faith and Freedom Coalition, believes the state’s program perpetuates abuse.
Some conditions, such as seizures, respond favorably to low levels of THC, an amount that can be imported; however, Georgia limits the level of THC to 5% — that is often not strong enough for other conditions, such as autism. In addition to authorizing hospice care, the expansion adds six more conditions to those already authorized: autism; Tourette’s syndrome; AIDS; Epidermolysis Bullosa; Alzheimer’s; and peripheral neuropathy.
Previously, only seizure disorders, which comprise 38% of patients, were authorized, as well as late-stage cancer (23%); multiple sclerosis (10%); and ALS; Parkinson’s; Crohn’s disease; mitochondrial disease, sickle cell disease, according to the Department of Public Health.