House approves manufacturing medical marijuana oil in Georgia

The Georgia House just finished week eight of the 2019 legislative session and it was certainly our busiest week yet. This week, we reached Legislative Day 28, also known as “Crossover Day.” Crossover Day is a crucial deadline for both the House and Senate as this is the last day for a bill to pass out of the legislative chamber from which it originated and be sent to the other body in order to remain eligible for consideration for this session. As a result, Crossover Day is typically one of the longest days of the session, and we worked late into the night to pass meaningful and significant House bills to send to our Senate counterparts for their consideration.

Although there were dozens of bill passed, I wanted to concentrate on one that seems to have a tremendous amount of interest and support in our area.

Medical marijuana

With the passage of House Bill 324 or “Georgia’s Hope Act”, the House remained committed to helping suffering Georgians by providing a legal pathway to manufacture and dispense low THC oil in our state. The bill would allow for the cultivation, manufacturing and dispensing of low THC oil with a lawful valid license issued by the Low THC Oil License Oversight Board to allow registered patients to obtain low THC oil in Georgia.

As a result of previous legislation that was enacted in 2015, patients with certain medical conditions, such as terminal cancer, epilepsy, Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, severe autism and others, can register with the Department of Public Health’s (DPH) THC Oil Patient Registry to legally possess up to 20 fluid ounces of medical cannabis oil that contains up to five percent THC. While we have decriminalized the possession of this oil, these patients cannot legally purchase this oil in Georgia, and therefore, thousands of registered Georgians must still break the law to purchase the product from other states. To solve this issue, this bill would authorize the DPH to issue two classes of licenses to produce, grow and manufacture low THC oil in Georgia.

The DPH would also issue separate retail licenses for qualified Georgia applicants by January 1, 2020. This legislation would create a sophisticated seed-to-sale tracking system, and it would require facility inspections and sample testing of medical cannabis oil products.

This legislation would help the more than 8,000 registered Georgians who suffer from serious medical conditions by establishing a secure, regulated and legal way to obtain this vital treatment.

In order to safeguard the system, an oversight board of 11 members, including the Director of the State Drug and Narcotic Agency will have permitting and oversight of 10 manufacturers who will be stringently regulated. In my opinion , it’s an excellent solution to providing a clean, certifiable product to those who are legally registered to purchase it.

Now that we have completed Crossover Day, we will spend the remainder of the session meeting in committees and on the House floor considering Senate bills.

In the remaining days of the legislative session, I hope you will reach out to me with any questions or comments you may have about bills that are up for a vote during these final weeks. You can reach me at my capitol office at 404-651-7737 or by email at terry.rogers@house.ga.gov.  Thank you for allowing me to represent you!


About the author: Representative Terry Rogers represents the citizens of District 10, which includes portions of Habersham and White counties. He was elected into the House of Representatives in 2011 and currently serves as the Governor’s Floor Leader and the Vice Chairman of the Economic Development & Tourism and State Planning & Community Affairs committees. He also serves as Vice Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Public Safety and the Defense & Veterans Affairs, Regulated Industries, Human Relations & Aging, and Rules committees.

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