When it comes to laws regarding cannabis use, the southern state of Georgia is among the strictest in the United States. The Peach State’s medical marijuana program, originally implemented in 2015, is also heavily limited in a number of ways. In fact, lawmakers even voted to restrict the levels of THC allowed in medicinal oil from 5 to 3 percent earlier this year.
Despite the scrutiny that state representatives have cast on their own medical cannabis system, the number of registered patients continues to grow. Over 100 users were added to the program in the last month, pushing the statewide registry to above 1,800 total patients. The number of parents and guardians that have registered as “caregivers” is even higher, currently set at around 2,248 people.
This increase comes on the heels of recently passed legislation that expands the number of diseases that can be treated with medical cannabis. The bill, spearheaded by Republican Rep. Allen Peake, added six conditions to the program, including autism, Alzheimer’s, and AIDS. Although the medical cannabis registry is growing, the system has made treatment extremely difficult for patients to obtain.
In Georgia, marijuana is still illegal to produce and cannot be transported over state lines due to federal illegality. This means that patients must either find a producer willing to ship cannabis oil or purchase it from another state and risk being caught once they’re back in the state.
Rep. Peake has also played an instrumental role in supplying hundreds of patients with cannabis oil. Each month, the lawmaker receives medical marijuana products from out of state and divvies it out to Georgians in need. The Republican representative has argued that the increase in registered patients is reason enough to start cultivating and distributing cannabis oil within the state borders.
Until this glaring issue is resolved, patients with registry cards will keep struggling to find a legal channel to obtain their medication through. Until then, patients and caregivers must resort to getting cannabis oil from outside of the state and risk being arrested while transporting the medication back to Georgia.