Georgia enacts bill allowing in-state access to low-THC oil!

 

Last update: April 18, 2019


On April 17, 2019, Gov. Brian Kemp (R) signed the Georgia’s Hope Act — HB 324 — into law. At long last, patients will be able to safely access low-THC medical cannabis oil within Georgia. The Senate approved the final language of the Georgia’s Hope Act in a 34-20 vote, while the House vote was 147-16.

In 2015, the Georgia General Assembly passed a bill allowing patients to register to possess up to 20 fluid ounces of medical cannabis oil with up to 5% THC. The legislature later expanded the law to include more medical conditions, and more than 8,000 patients are signed up. However, the law didn’t include any access to cannabis oil.

Under the Georgia’s Hope Act, six producers will be allowed to cultivate medical cannabis preparations in Georgia, along with two universities. Pharmacies will be allowed to sell the medical cannabis preparations, and regulators could authorize private dispensaries. (Due to medical cannabis’ federal illegality, it is far from certain that universities or pharmacies would participate.) It is expected to take at least a year before legal sales begin. For more details, check out our summary

MPP is grateful to Jacob Eassa, lobbyist with CompassionateGA, who worked hard to get the bill past the finish line and ensure the bill remained workable. We would also like to thank MPP grantee Nora Bushfield of CompassionateGA for their organizing efforts and all the patients and loved ones who spoke out for so many years. And of course, this was only possible due to the leadership of bill sponsor Rep. Micah Gravley (R), former Rep. Allen Peake (R) who championed medical cannabis legislation for years, and all the lawmakers who supported the legislation.

While this is a huge victory, work remains to be done in future legislative sessions to improve the law. It still does not meet MPP’s definition of an effective medical cannabis law. Make sure you’re signed up for our email updates so you don’t miss out on opportunities to speak out for compassionate cannabis policy. 


ACLU study shows Georgia’s harsh marijuana laws result in racially disproportionate arrest rates

 

Georgia has some of the most punitive marijuana laws in the country, with possession of a mere two ounces being punishable by up to 10 years in prison. It’s clear these laws have not been successful, and new evidence shows that Georgia’s laws are not being evenly enforced.

A 2013 study by the American Civil Liberties Union found that although blacks and whites use marijuana at nearly identical rates, blacks in Georgia are 3.7 times more likely than whites to be arrested for marijuana possession.

Please take a moment to send a letter to your legislators asking them to reduce the penalty for possession of marijuana to a civil fine or ask them to end marijuana prohibition entirely.


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To receive news about Georgia marijuana policy reform as it happens, be sure to subscribe to MPP's free legislative alert service, if you haven't done so already. If you have any questions concerning the status of marijuana reform in Georgia, you can contact MPP at state@mpp.org.