Georgia needs better legislation for medical marijuana

Georgia needs better legislation for medical marijuana

With approval of the so-called ‘Haleigh’s Act’ by Georgia state government in mid-April, CBD-containing cannabis treatment has been permitted for patients, suffering from one of eight deliberating conditions: cancer, anemia, epilepsy, mitochondrial disease, Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis, Lou Gehrig’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease.

This news ultimately left marijuana users in Georgia excited about further legalization perspectives, but expectation is proving to be far from reality, as the newly adopted law does not seem to work right. Firstly, the Act only allows marijuana products with high CBD and low THC content. This means not every strain is legal. Secondly, to use such strains in medical purposes, patients must apply and receive a registration card from the Department of Public Health, which is a highly bureaucratic procedure. And, last but not least, the Act emphasizes that purchasing marijuana in Georgia is still illegal, and residents must pursue it in fully legalized states, such as, for example, Colorado.

As we can see, even patients with proven conditions remain as far from medical marijuana as they were, let alone common cannabis users. The law is being highly criticized as ‘making no sense’ by advocates and political observers, even those that are not pro-legalization. To some, it’s better no legislation at all than the one like this.

That is probably why doctors in Georgia are reluctant to prescribe medical marijuana, even though, according to the Act, they are entitled to do so. According to the Georgia C.A.R.E. Project, a non-profit medical observer, most doctors still ‘lack actual knowledge on medical marijuana properties and indications’. In their recent report, C.A.R.E. has cited that ‘over 500 patents have to this date received their registration cards, but doctors still would not prescribe cannabis treatment for them’. And, as per the ‘Haleigh’s Act’, recommendation of medical marijuana is left solely at doctor’s discretion.

It is clear at this point that the law is not providing what it was designed for, so amendments are needed if patients are not to turn to the black market again.

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