Georgia House Passes Medical Marijuana Expansion

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Good news in the Peach State! Medical marijuana, now over a year old, is expanding its reach.

The Georgia State House recently decided to back a much broader version of Georgia’s MMJ law.

House Bill 65, sponsored by, yes, a Republican, state Rep. Allen Peake, would double the list of illnesses and conditions eligible for MMJ treatment. It will now include AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease, autism, autoimmune disease, epidermolysis bullosa, HIV, peripheral neuropathy and Tourette’s syndrome.

And it also removes the one-year residency requirement.

The bill would allow people with rec cards from other states that have similar low-THC cannabis oil laws to possess their oil in Georgia. Cannabis oil can have no more than five percent THC.

The House vote comes two weeks after the state Senate passed a medical marijuana measure that would add autism to the list of eligible conditions, but had reduced the allowable maximum THC level in the oil to three percent.

This was an unpopular move among many of the law’s advocates who felt the plan downsized a key part of Georgia’s medical marijuana law and who feared it would alienate dozens of families and children who use cannabis oil to help treat debilitating conditions.

Georgia’s official registry of approved patients is currently 1,300. Georgia’s population is 10 million.

Medical marijuana is on a roll in Georgia.

This past summer, University of Georgia professor W. David Bradford, who studies the effects of public administration and policy, co-authored a national study that found a correlation between medical marijuana and lowered prescription drug use within Medicare’s prescription drug program in states where weed is legal for medicinal purposes.

Savings were estimated to be about $165.2 million in 2013, well before Georgia passed its own law, but Bradford said even he was surprised the results were so strong.

And Dr. Yong Park of Georgia’s Medical College also reported that researchers in Georgia were encouraged by early results that involved the cannabis-derived Epidiolex oil, made by GW Pharma.

Out of 30 patients who took Epidioilex for at least four months, 63 percent saw a reduction in severe seizures.

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