Could Georgia become the first state in the South to establish a broad medical marijuana program?
It’s now at least within the realm of possibility.
Georgia House Speaker David Ralston told reporters this week that he supports a medical marijuana bill prefiled by a trio of Republican lawmakers, according to the Atlanta Business Chronicle.
The legislation would essentially replace the state’s extremely limited CBD program with a broader medical cannabis system allowing the cultivation and sale of marijuana-derived medicine.
The Georgia legislature starts a new session Monday.
Ralston’s endorsement comes at a good time, as a study commission created by Gov. Nathan Deal in December came out against creating an in-state cultivation and distribution system for CBD oils.
Georgia’s current medical marijuana law, passed last year, allows certified patients to possess high-CBD, low-THC cannabis-derived oils, but it forbids in-state cannabis cultivation or processing. It also caps the amount of THC allowed.
Under the proposed bill, there would be between two and six cannabis oil manufacturers that would grow and dispense the final product. They would also be required to have a seed-to-sell tracking system, contract with an independent lab to test the cannabis oil and employ licensed pharmacists to dispense the marijuana. The cap on THC limits would also be lifted.
The bill would add several new conditions to the current list of eight qualifying conditions, including post-traumatic stress disorder, Alzheimer’s disease, Tourette’s syndrome and intractable pain.