New Bill To Allow Growing of Medical Cannabis in Georgia

Shannon Cloud, surrounded by patients and families, said she’s sick of parents having to buy weed on the street and make oil in their kitchen.Shannon Cloud, surrounded by patients and families, said she’s sick of parents having to buy weed on the street and make oil in their kitchen. (photo by Rebecca Gaunt)

Patients and family members joined sponsor Rep. Micah Gravley (R-Douglasville) Thursday to present HB 324, or Georgia’s Hope Act. The bill allows for production, manufacturing and dispensing of low THC oil. Current law allows patients with specified conditions to obtain a low THC oil card with their doctor’s agreement and allows oil possession up to 20 ounces with a max of 5 percent THC.

By bringing cultivation to Georgia, patients and caregivers would no longer have to break federal law by crossing state lines to bring the oil back. Retired representative Allen Peake originally championed cannabis oil, but was unsuccessful bringing cultivation to the table due to a lack of support from former governor Nathan Deal.

The second bill sponsor is Rep. Mark Newton (R-Augusta), a medical doctor.

Georgia’s Hope, an advocacy group run by parents, posted details on their Facebook page.


Summary of Georgia Hope bill

While many Georgians expressed excitement at being able to obtain the oil locally, the bill also received immediate online criticism. Prior to the press conference, Gravley said he was being blasted on social media.

The limited number of licenses and fees drew complaints that only large corporations can afford them and smaller operations can’t compete.

“I’m here to insure that a lab-tested, safe oil is available to patients, and if you’re creating a product, you also need to be able to assume liability of that product,” Gravley said in response. “These are the thresholds you are going to have to meet to insure quality control, security, viability of your product, safety of your product, delivery of your product. My first and foremost concern are the patients of this state.”

Advocate, parent and Smyrna resident Shannon Cloud spoke at the conference.

“This morning there was a statement issued from Sue Rusche, CEO of National Families in Action. She referred to cannabis cultivation in Georgia as the kiss of death. Well, I’m here to say, two little girls here in Georgia in the past two weeks died from seizures. That is the kiss of death. And our job is to prevent patients from Georgia from enduring that kind of suffering,” Cloud said.

The bill can be read in its entirety here