Georgia governor signs law granting AIDS patients access to medical marijuana

Gov. Nathan Deal signed Senate Bill 16 on May 9, which expands Georgia’s Low THC Cannabis Oil Registry program to cover six more diseases and conditions, including AIDS.

Registry participants are able to legally possess up to 20 fluid ounces of cannabis oil with a maximum of 5 percent THC.

SB 16 was a compromise bill based on House Bill 65, authored by Rep. Allen Peake (R-Macon). HB 65 originally added eight conditions and diseases to the registry, including HIV, which was removed as part of the new iteration.

“With Governor Deal’s signature today, Georgia’s medical cannabis program takes another positive step forward,” Peake said in a news release. “As of today, 1,738 citizens and 354 doctors are registered with Georgia’s Low THC Oil Registry program, and I’m confident that the addition of six conditions to this very successful program will allow even more hurting Georgians with debilitating illnesses to have a ray of hope for a better quality of life. I’m grateful to my colleagues, Speaker David Ralston and Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle for their continued support in getting this bill to Gov. Deal’s desk. 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 job will not be finished until we accomplish this task.”

In addition to AIDS, SB 16 adds Tourette’s syndrome, autism spectrum disorder, Epidermolysis Bullosa, Alzheimer’s disease and hospice patients to those able to obtain low THC cannabis oil.

SB 16 also allows reciprocity of other states’ medical cannabis registration cards, so long as their oil meets Georgia’s legal standards. The bill removes the one-year residency requirement for program eligibility and also changes the reporting required by physicians.