The Georgia Senate has agreed to the House substitute of this year’s cannabis oil expansion with less than 12 hours remaining in the 2017 legislative session.
Senate Bill 16, sponsored by State Senator Ben Watson & State Representative Allen Peake, expands the list of conditions eligible for cannabis oil, a substance derived from marijuana that is not smokeable. In addition to end stage cancer, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, seizure disorders, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, mitochondrial disease, Parkinson’s disease and sickle cell in end stages, all of which are permitted under current law, the bill added the following conditions:
- Tourette’s syndrome, if severe
- Autism spectrum disorder if a person is at least 18 years of age
- Autism spectrum disorder if autism is severe and person is under 18
- Epidermolysis bullosa
- Alzheimer’s disease, severe and end stage
- Acquired immune deficiency syndrome, severe or end stage
- peripheral neuropathy, severe or end stage
- certain instances of hospice care
The compromise is a far cry from the rollback on progress Senator Watson originally proposed. Watson wanted to reduce the THC content from 5% to 3%, which would render the oil nearly medically useless.
Georgia law currently allows Georgians who have registered with the Cannabis Oil State Registry to possess up to 20 fluid ounces of oil with a THC level of 5%. The bill does not beget progress for in-state growing, importation, or production.
The bill did cut back on regulation for doctors who prescribe for the cannabis oil registry, no longer requiring them to report to the state on a quarterly basis, but instead on a semi-annual basis.
The bill now heads to the Governor’s desk. Governor Deal has not expressed support or opposition of the bill since the legislative session began.