Health & Hospitals
Category: Health & Hospitals
By Lou Phelps, Coastal Empire News
March 30, 2017 - Sen. Ben Watson’s and Rep. Allen Peak’s bill to allow for the sale of marijuana for medical purposes, SB 16, passed the Senate today by a vote of 45 – 6, with the amendment that had been approved in the House included.
The bill, SB 16, will save lives, according to its proponents. Sen. Watson, a physician, was the leading Senate sponsor of the bill, who rose to say that he agreed to the House amendment that had been tacked onto the bill late Tuesday.
THC oil will now be available for use by physicians in treating a specific list of diseases, including children with autism, where anecdotal trials to date have proven successful.
The bill allows for the “possession, manufacture, distribution, or sale of low THC oil,” and the establishment of the Low THC Oil Patient Registry. There will be quarterly reports required on use.
Manufacturing is still not going to be allowed in Georgia; sources for THC oil will come from out of state, for now. In a press conference after the vote, Rep. Peak said that will will continue to work for growth of marijuana in Georgia, and a possible constitutional amendment effort, in the future.
And, Rep. Peak said that he is optimistic that Gov. Deal will sign the bill into law, based on meetings with this staff.
The bills states that it “shall be lawful for any person to possess or have under his or her control fluid ounces or less of low THC 15 oil if such substance is in a pharmaceutical container labeled by the manufacturer indicating the percentage of tetrahydrocannabinol therein,” and that the person is registered with the Department of Public Health, and has in “his or her possession a registration card issued by the Department of Public Health; and or Such person has in his or her possession a registration card issued by another state that allows the same possession of low THC oil as provided by this state's law.”
Sen. Watson explained that the latter part was necessary to allow for children using the THC oil to visit grandparents in Georgia, and other such situations.
And, he added that the approach Georgia will pursue will allow for the capturing of data that can impact future research in understanding the effects of THC on the brain.
The bill allows for the establishment of the Low THC Oil Patient Registry, and defines the medical conditions where the marijuana can be prescribed, including end-stage Cancer; Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, when such diagnosis is disease is diagnosed as severe or end stage; Seizure disorders related to a diagnosis of epilepsy or trauma related head injuries; Multiple sclerosis, when such diagnosis is disease is diagnosed as severe or end stage; Crohn's disease; Mitochondrial disease; Parkinson's disease, when such diagnosis is disease is diagnosed as severe or end stage; Sickle cell disease, when such diagnosis is disease is diagnosed as severe or end stage; Tourette's syndrome, when such syndrome is diagnosed as severe; Autism spectrum disorder, when such disorder is diagnosed for a patient who is at least 18 years of age, or severe autism, when diagnosed for a patient who is less than 18 years of age; Epidermolysis bullosa; Alzheimer's disease, when such disease is diagnosed as severe end stage; Acquired immune deficiency syndrome, when such syndrome is diagnosed as severe or end stage; and Peripheral neuropathy, when such symptoms are diagnosed as severe or end stage."
The purpose of the registry is to provide a registration of individuals and caregivers who have been issued registration cards.
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