The Georgia Senate voted to approve a bill on Friday that would give medical marijuana patients a legal avenue to obtain their medicine. Under the bill, HB 324, a regulated system for growing, processing, and distributing cannabis oil would be established. Georgia’s medical marijuana program only permits the use of cannabis oil with no more than 5 percent THC by registered patients with one or more of 16 qualifying serious medical conditions. However, current regulations do not allow for medical marijuana cultivation, processing, or sales, which leaves patients with no way to legally obtain cannabis oil. The bill was approved by the Georgia House of Representatives earlier this month.
The Senate voted 44-8 to pass the measure on Friday, but only after significant changes were made by the Senate Regulated Industries Committee on Wednesday. Under the Senate version, only two cultivation licenses would be issued by the state, one for a large operation and one for a small grower, instead of the 10 licenses in the House bill. Amendments also reduced the number of retail dispensaries for the state’s 8,400 registered patients from 60 to 10. The Senate’s amendments also would allow two universities to create cannabis research and manufacturing programs. Another change made by the Senate committee