Georgia Expands Medical Marijuana Laws
Governor Nathan Deal signed a new law into effect last Tuesday, expanding the medical marijuana program within the state. Senate Bill 16, now law, named six more conditions as eligible to be treated with medical marijuana. These conditions are: Tourette’s syndrome, peripheral neuropathy, autism, Alzheimer’s disease, epidermolysis bullosa and AIDS.
Medical marijuana, in the form of a limited type of cannabis oil, was first made legal in 2015. Persons with severe forms of certain illnesses were permitted to possess no more than 20 ounces of the oil. Eight illnesses, including Parkinson’s disease, cancer and epilepsy were covered under the law. Representative Allen Peake (R) was one of the strongest supporters of the new bill, having a desire to help those with debilitating illnesses receive relief.
Representative Peake wrote, in part, “My hope is that in 2018 we can fill the gaping hole that still remains, and provide legal access to medical cannabis oil here in our state with a safe, lab tested product produced within our own borders.”
The new law is a compromise between legislative chambers. In the law, the maximum percentage of THC in the cannabis oil is limited to five percent. Some lawmakers originally wanted to limit the amount of THC to just three percent. There are currently 354 doctors in the state who are registered to provide the oil, and there are just over 1,700 patients able to receive it.
Cannabis Oil Warnings
Any person who is prescribed cannabis oil to treat a medical condition is urged to make themselves aware of its possible effects. Patients should not:
- Driver or operate machinery while using cannabis oil. The oil may cause impaired judgment, drowsiness and dizziness. These effects could be hazardous to someone operating a motor vehicle or machinery.
- Drink alcohol while taking cannabis oil. Alcohol can increase the effects of the oil, making dizziness and drowsiness more pronounced.
- Take other prescriptions medications without speaking to a doctor. Cannabis oil, though natural, can interact with prescriptions medications. If a patient is taking medication, they should speak to their doctor to learn about potential interactions.
Aside from the six conditions named in the most recent cannabis oil bill, those people suffering with glaucoma, cancer, HIV, muscle spasms, seizures, severe pain, severe nausea and cachexia may want to speak to their medical provider with regards to whether cannabis oil may help to alleviate their symptoms. Each of these conditions is listed in previous laws as medical conditions for which patients can be prescribed cannabis oil.
It is important to note that medical marijuana is a Schedule I substance, and its illegal possession could result in criminal charges. If you have been arrested for drug possession in Atlanta, reach out to our team of experienced criminal defense attorneys for assistance. We will review your case at no cost to you and advise you of your legal options.