US (GA): Georgia governor signs cannabis oil bill

Gov. Brian Kemp has signed a bill that will make it possible for licensed entities to produce and distribute oils and other products which have limited amounts of plant-derived THC.

House Bill 324 also lays the ground for the establishment of a commission to regulate and oversee the production, manufacture and dispensing of products having the specified amounts of THC to patients who have been registered to receive those products.

Under the bill which has now been signed into law, the state will cooperate with Georgia University to manufacture THC-infused extracts and oils. A maximum of six cultivators will be licensed to operate within the state, according to the new law.

Medical marijuana was legalized in Georgia in 2015. However, the law which legalized this form of medicine didn’t establish mechanisms through which qualifying patients could access low-THC cannabis oils and extracts.

The latest law is intended to fix that shortcoming so that patients can access state-regulated cannabis oils and extracts instead of merely taking comfort in a law which allows them to use these products yet no system is in place to avail the permitted products.

Currently, about 9,500 patients have been approved to use medical cannabis oil. The law sets a possession limit of 20 fluid announces of medical cannabis oil whose THC concentration doesn’t exceed 5 percent.

A registry card issued by the Georgia Department of Public Health protects members of the public from being arrested and prosecuted for possessing a controlled substance.

The state has a small number of patients on its medical marijuana program because Georgia enacted a highly restrictive medical marijuana law.

Under the law, medical marijuana cannot be used in leaf or edible form as is the case in nearly all other jurisdictions where medical marijuana is legal. Vaporization of cannabis oil is also banned in the state.

Additionally, Georgia doesn’t give physicians the right to prescribe cannabis oil to patients. Instead, the physician simply fills a patient certification form confirming that the patient has one of the 17 qualifying conditions, and then the physician and the patient sign a waiver form before the patient certification form is mailed to the Department of Public Health for consideration.

It remains to be seen whether the enactment of the law facilitating the manufacture and sale of cannabis oil will result in an increase in the number of people who apply for the Low THC Oil Registry Card.

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