Georgia lawmakers were running out of time to get medical marijuana legislation passed. Fortunately, the General Assembly passed House Bill 324 which will allow Georgia residents to have a full medical marijuana program. For those that are already approved for the limited, low-THC oil program – they’ll have access within their own state.
Private companies and universities will be licensed to grow marijuana in the state, AJC.com reports. Pharmacies will be the first to dispense medical marijuana. Dispensaries will likely come later.
Data shows that the state currently has about 8,400 registered medical marijuana cardholders.
The legislation was close to failing, then Governor Brian Kemp stepped in to help create a compromise that the House and Senate could both accept.
The House passed House Bill 324 in a vote of 147–16 and the Senate followed with a vote of 34-20.
Governor Kemp said, “Over the years, I’ve met with children who are battling chronic, debilitating diseases. I’ve heard from parents who are struggling with access and losing hope. This compromise legislation is carefully crafted to provide access to medical cannabis oil to those in need. This is simply the right thing to do.”
The legislation, once signed into law, will create:
- 6 cultivation and manufacturing licenses
- 2 university-operated medical marijuana programs
- State oversight board
- Discuss private dispensaries
- Continue ban on edibles and smokable forms of medical marijuana
Despite the restrictions, this is a massive step in the right direction for Georgians.
Representative Micah Gravely said, “For the last five years, our patients in this state have been traveling out of state. They’ve been breaking federal law. The compromise we have reaches the goal of getting safe access for the citizens in this state.”
Of course, there are still those that think that this legislation will be a gateway to recreational marijuana legalization. Georgia is nowhere near in a position to consider recreational legalization in the near future.
Since Governor Kemp played an important role in getting this legislative compromise passed, he’s fully expected to sign House Bill 324 into law quickly.