2 weeks ago, Senators in Georgia voted to reduce the maximum amount of THC allowable in the state’s medical marijuana oil from 5 percent to 3 percent. The highly unpopular decision was the cause of much controversy amongst doctors, parents of children on a 5 percent dosage and marijuana advocates in general. There had not been any problems or cause to precipitate the decision to reduce the dose which was frustrating to many individuals. Along with the decision to reduce the dose, autism was added to the list of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana.
Expanding Qualifying Conditions Under House Bill 65
Now state Rep. Allen Peake has sponsored House Bill 65, a new piece of legislation that would once again make the maximum THC dosage 5 percent as well as amend other aspects of the current law that should make many people happy. The bill has been approved by the House and is ready to be seen by the Senate. As part of the new bill, those with AIDS, HIV, Tourette’s syndrome, autism, epidermolysis bullosa, Alzheimer’s disease, human immunodeficiency virus, acquired immune deficiency syndrome, autoimmune disease or peripheral neuropathy would qualify for medical marijuana treatment. It also removes the “end stage” and “severe” qualifying descriptions of the current accepted conditions.
Redefining Residency Restrictions
The bill also removes the requirement that a person must have 1 year residency in Georgia to qualify for the program. It even allows people from other states who have a medical marijuana card to possess medical marijuana oil that contains up to 5 percent THC content. The bill expands upon the current medical marijuana program to make it more user friendly to those who need the assistance and a higher dose than 3 percent THC. On Wednesday, the House backed the bill and it is now on its way to the Senate.
A Second Bill to Reduce Marijuana-Related Sentencing
Another marijuana related bill was approved by the Georgia General Assembly which will reduce the sentence for those caught in possession of marijuana. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Harold Jones II, would reduce the penalty for anyone caught with up to 2 ounces of marijuana from a felony to a misdemeanor. This bill will now be presented to the Senate Rules Committee. Both bills reflect the changing attitudes of people around the country towards marijuana. According to the latest Gallup poll, 60 percent of Americans are in favor of legalization. This is reflected in the fact that 1/5 of the country have now legalized recreational marijuana and 28 states plus Washington D.C. have legalized medical marijuana.
In recent days the Trump administration has announced it is intending on cracking down on recreational marijuana. Having said that, so far they have been respectful towards the medical marijuana industry and, if that attitude holds up, the industry is likely to continue to grow and spread across the country. For now, the next victory for Georgia will come when the THC dosage is restored and the qualifying conditions have been expanded. The state is well on its way to achieving this. Every victory like this is a step towards the end of prohibition.