Georgia is going about implementing its medical marijuana laws in its own unique way. While many other states may be providing a template for the best ways to implement a medical marijuana program, as a Tenth Amendment right each state gets to decide for itself.
Georgia’s governor just expanded the state’s limited medical marijuana program by adding two additional qualifying conditions to the more than ten that already existed to legally use medical marijuana. Now people suffering from PTSD and intractable pain may use cannabis oil if their physician has authorized it. The real challenge in Georgia is that they have not created a legal way to produce cannabis oil or purchase cannabis oil. One would think that legalizing the use of medical marijuana would also come with the ability to purchase it from somewhere as well.
Gov. Nathan Deal signed House Bill 65 into law Monday, adding PTSD and intractable pain to the list of conditions eligible for treatment by cannabis oil. It will take effect July 1.
Georgia’s medical marijuana law, first passed in 2015, now covers more than a dozen conditions, including late-stage cancer and seizure disorders. The law allows patients approved by a physician to possess small amounts of cannabis oil.
But state lawmakers didn’t pass a broader expansion of the state’s medical marijuana program. That measure, House Bill 645, would have legalized harvesting and distribution of cannabis oil.
Plainly many states are still very nervous about legalizing any form of marijuana either due to their own prejudice of the plant or due to the federal Schedule 1 status of cannabis. However, the demand for access to marijuana is pushing politicians to provide voters with what they want. While certainly a step in the right direction for cannabis progressives, Georgia’s laws concerning cannabis are making it legal without actually making it legal, most likely in an attempt to buy more time.