Medical Marijuana Bill Signed By Gov. Nathan Deal, Becomes Law

A type of medical marijuana is now legal in Georgia. Gov. Nathan Deal signed a bill legalizing cannabis oil for Georgians with eight different medical conditions. That means some families who had left the state to get the oil can now return home.

The bill is named for 5-year-old Haleigh Cox who suffers from a seizure disorder.  Her mother Janea moved with her to Colorado so she could get Haleigh cannabis oil, but her husband stayed behind. Janea and her entire family attended the signing.

“I have permanent butterflies, they won’t go away, because I get to come back home and be a family,” Janea said.

Deal said the bill will give Georgians with several different medical conditions hope, and those pushing for the bill like Janea made it possible.

“I think that is what has touched the hearts of the General Assembly,” said Deal “It’s certainly touched my heart, and I’m just pleased we’re going to make a difference.”

The state gave seven temporary medical cards to families who’ve moved out of state. Deal says others who want to legally possess cannabis oil should be able to apply for medical cards soon. Residents will need permission from a doctor and will have to fill out several forms from the Georgia Health Department.

The legislation allows those with conditions including seizure disorders and Crohn’s disease to legally use the oil in Georgia. But the bill doesn’t give blanket permission for everyone with the conditions to possess the oil.

For instance in the case of cancer cancer, only patients who are dying or whose treatment is causing side effects like nausea and vomiting would be allowed to use it. The legislation also says those with conditions like Parkinson’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), multiple sclerosis and sickle cell disease would have to be near death or have severe symptoms to get the oil.

The legislation also does not allow for the growth or manufacturing of medical marijuana in Georgia. The bill’s sponsor says two Colorado companies have offered to ship oil containing less than 0.3 percent THC to Georgia. Residents needing cannabis oil with a higher THC level would have to get it from other states. They run the risk of getting caught with the oil in states where it’s illegal.

The bill limits THC content in the oil to 5 percent. It also says Georgians can only possess up to 20 ounces.