Georgia lawmakers on Tuesday took action to revive the state’s medical cannabis program, with the House and Senate introducing separate bills designed to allow the production and sale of medicinal cannabis oil.
The Georgia state legislature passed the Haleigh’s Hope Act, a measure that allowed patients with certain medical conditions including seizure disorders and end-stage cancer to use hemp oil that contained no more than 5 percent THC, in 2015. But lawmakers They failed to pass legislation allowing the orderly production and sale of cannabis oil, leaving patients without a legal means to obtain their medication.
In 2019, lawmakers finally approved a bill to allow the cultivation of medicinal utensils and the production and sale of hemp oil. That same year, Governor Brian Kemp, Lt. Jeff Duncan, and House Speaker David Ralston appointed a seven-member committee to draft regulations and license medical cannabis producers.
Two years later, the GA Medical Cannabis Access Committee (GMCC) announced that it would grant licenses to six companies from a pool of nearly 70 applicants. Nearly two dozen unsuccessful applicants lodged protests, and one potential cannabis company, Georgia Atlas, filed a lawsuit that described the state’s selection process as “lack of transparency, objectivity, and fairness.” Legal action halted the licensing process, leaving 20,000 Georgia-registered medicinal herb patients without access to legal cannabis oil.
Approval of two separate bills
To rectify the situation, Georgia lawmakers on Tuesday approved two bills to resume the licensing process. Senate Bill 609 Senator Jeff Mullis will direct the GMCC to reassess proposals for applications already submitted and to select six “eligible applicants” to receive licenses. The legislation was approved in the Senate unanimously 52-0.
“The bill’s sole purpose is to move the ball forward to get medical cannabis for people on record,” He said State Senator Dean Burke, as quoted by Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “The process, most people say, was flawed.”
separate scale, House Bell 1425 Representative Bill Werchizer will effectively rescind the progress in licensing the medical cannabis program made so far and reinstate the process with the Department of Administrative Services overseeing the new application and selection process. The competitive bidding process will be graded by an independent third party, rather than the politically appointed GMCC. The legislation does not specify a date for the granting of licenses.
“We don’t know if it’s perfect but if we don’t do anything we are in a very bad situation,” Werkeser He said. “We have to do something. We have to put the medicine in the hands of the sick.”
House Law 1425 will also increase the number of medical device licenses as more patients are enrolled in the program.
“It’s growing as the number of licenses increases,” Werkeser said. “Every 10,000 additional patients, we will add another large license and a small license and we will continue to do so.”
Lawmakers in the House of Representatives approved the Werkheiser bill on Tuesday by 169 votes to 5. State Representative Ed Setzler voted in favor of the bill, noting that it retains the strict limits that lawmakers agreed to in the previous legislation. But he is concerned that approval of the bill could boost efforts to legalize recreational cannabis.
“There is a movement behind the scenes, and soon it will come out in the open, and that will monetize this process to push towards what you would call medical/recreational marijuana and make Georgia a recreational country,” Seitzler Tell housemates. “This is coming. The money behind this, which protects (the RFPs), is the drive behind this, it’s a national movement, it’s coming to Georgia. And they see this process as just a step in that direction.”
However, Representative Micah Gravely said Setzler’s concerns were unfounded, citing the stringent regulatory controls included in the measure.
“We have not become a recreational country and we have not implemented medical smoking or anything like that,” he said. “In truth, we have a very strict law, and you can’t even advertise green in our law. There are no foodstuffs in our law. You can’t even have an independent education center in our laws for our patients who seek it, which is recommended by their doctor, who wants education In that specific subject matter, you can’t even have an independent learning center.”
Georgia patients left in Lorsch
House Bill 1425 will be considered by the Georgia Senate, and Senate Bill 609 has similarly passed to the House of Representatives. But both measures, if finally approved and passed into law, will likely face additional legal challenges, particularly if one or more of the six previously approved companies fail to obtain a license. It’s a situation that continues to frustrate patients and their families, including Sebastian Coty, father of 11-year-old Jagger Coty, who has a rare neurological condition known as Lee syndrome.
“He’s nonverbal, he’s never spoken in his life, he can’t raise his head, he can’t walk, he’s 100% disabled,” Kotey told local media about his son’s disability.
In 2014, the Coates family moved to Colorado so that Jagger could be treated with medical marijuana. Sebastian Coty said his son has made rapid progress with hemp oil that is high in CBD and low in THC.
He said, “Immediately, we saw some changes, but the one thing I will never forget – Jagger hadn’t smiled for a year before that. After two or three days in the CBD, Jagger smiled again.”
With the hemp oil law now, father and son are back in Georgia. But Sebastian Coty still had to get the medicine his son needed from out of state. He hopes Georgian lawmakers will soon make that unnecessary.
“We don’t ask for the moon,” Coty said. “We are asking for access like many other countries.”