Back in 2015, the Governor signed into law Haleigh’s Hope Act, which established the Georgia Commission on Medical Cannabis to provide recommendations concerning medical marijuana regulations. The Act allowed individuals with certain illnesses to possess up to 20 ounces of cannabis oil, if approved by their physician. The qualifying illnesses were Crohn’s disease, seizure disorders, mitochondrial disease, multiple sclerosis, severe or end-stage ALS, Parkinson’s disease, cancer, and sickle-cell disease.
In May of this year, Governor Nathan Deal signed into law Senate Bill 16, a measure that expands Georgia’s medical marijuana program. According to a recent article, the law makes six more illnesses eligible for medical marijuana treatment: AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease, epidermolysis bullosa, Tourette’s syndrome, peripheral neuropathy, and autism.
While the law allows doctors to certify patients for the State’s Low THC Oil Registry and authorizes the Georgia Department of Public Health to issue a registry card to qualified individuals, the bill does not authorize doctors to “prescribe” marijuana. The State has explained that a doctor’s certification is merely a certification that there is an established doctor-patient relationship, that the doctor has examined the patient, and that the patient has one of the qualifying medical conditions.