A bill titled Georgia’s Hope Act, House Bill 324, has advanced from the House to the Rules Committee. The Regulated Industries Committee approved the legislation on March 1. Lawmakers are running out of time on this legislation though.
The bill that would allow for in-state cultivation of marijuana must be approved by March 7, according to West Georgia Neighbor. The full House of Representatives only has until Crossover Day or the Senate may not have enough time to get to this important piece of legislation this session. Support for this legislation spreads further than just lawmakers; there is also support from physicians and a psychiatrist.
House Bill 324’s sponsor, Representative Micah Gravely said, “Thousands of Georgians are suffering from serious medical conditions that can be improved by use of low THC oil, and Georgia patients have only been allowed to possess medical cannabis without an avenue to legally obtain this vital treatment. The House of Representatives has passed several medical cannabis bills in recent years, and while our state has made great strides in legalizing the possession of low THC oil, we now have a chance to ensure that Georgians have safe, affordable access to medical cannabis options here in our state.”
Dr. Scott Cooper, a neurologist, supports the legislation because he’s seen patients improve after using low-THC oil. These positive changes have occurred in patients from ages 15 to over 80-years-old. He also wants to see the state’s patients have a safe way to obtain the low-THC oil.
Of course, this legislation does not come without opposition. Several local law enforcement agencies are against the legislation. They “fear” that allowing medical marijuana will lead to recreational marijuana legalization.
If House Bill 324 is signed into law, access would be expected by January 1, 2020. The Department of Public Health would be responsible for issuing licenses for businesses and patients. The approved oil would also be allowed to be dispensed in the state – something that isn’t allowed now. Up to 20-oz. of the state-approved oil would be able to be purchased and possessed in Georgia.