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Medical Marijuana Expansion Legislation Filed in Georgia's State House

The new legislation would give Georgia voters the chance to decide on medical cannabis in the 2018 election.

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The state of Georgia is known for a lot of wonderful things (Outkast and pecan pie to name a few) but when it comes to cannabis laws, aside from their strictly regulated CBD oil-only medical program, the Peach State is sorely lacking in southern hospitality. 

But this past Thursday, the state took a major step towards a more expansive medical marijuana system thanks to new legislation filed in the state House. Known as House Resolution 36, the legislation would allow Georgia voters to decide on a measure that would allow medical cannabis to be grown and sold within state lines. 

If passed, the new law authored and filed by Republican State Rep. Allen Peake, would be placed on the ballot in 2018. Currently, the few registered patients in the state are allowed to possess up to 20 ounces of cannabis oil to treat eight specific illnesses, which include cancer, Parkinson’s, and epilepsy.

The new legislation is written in the form of a constitutional amendment, so it must obtain two-thirds approval from both the House and Senate in order to pass. In addition to House Resolution 36, Rep. Peake also filed House Bill 65, a measure that would expand the restricted list of illnesses to include AIDS, Alzheimer’s, autism, intractable pain, post-traumatic stress disorder, and Tourette’s syndrome. 

While Resolution 36 and House Bill 65 aim to expand Georgia’s medical cannabis system, another measure introduced in the Senate on the same day includes further limitations on the substance. Senate Bill 16 would add autism to the list of covered conditions, but would further restrict the allowable amount of THC in cannabis oil from 5 percent to 3 percent.   

Although Rep. Peake’s legislation might face problems in the majority Republican-run House and Senate, recent polls show widespread support for the cultivation and use of medical cannabis throughout the state. A recent poll for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution showed that 71 percent of voters support expanding the state's medical cannabis program, and they might now have a way to do so.  

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