Georgia HB 722 medical marijuana

A Look at Georgia’s Proposed Medical Marijuana Law and How Things Will Change if it is Passed

On Wednesday, January 7 Rep. Allen Peake (R- Macon), a long-time proponent of allowing sick Georgian’s to medicate with cannabis, pre-filed a bill that would establish a regulated medical marijuana system in Georgia.

House Bill 722, if passed, would retire the temporary system currently in place, known as the Haleigh’s Hope Act, and establish a Minnesota-like medical marijuana regulatory system in Georgia that would greatly expand access to marijuana extracts and products by patients.

What HB 722 Does

From the outset 722 is a radical departure from Georgia’s Haleigh’s Hope Act, which only decriminalized possession of certain substances by qualified patients and never actually established a medical marijuana program in Georgia. In contrast, this new law would:

  1. Dismantle Georgia’s Low THC Oil Registry, which is currently maintained by the Department of Public Health
  2. Create a new patient registry for qualified patients
  3. Expand the list of qualifying conditions
  4. Provide a broader definition for caretakers
  5. Create a robust, fully-regulated medical cannabis system that includes in-state cultivation (no smoking, oil or vape only)
  6. Track the progress of patient treatment by collecting aggregated information on treatments and outcomes
  7. Place strict controls over who may access patient information and states that patient registry records may not be used against them in unrelated criminal proceedings
  8. Provide legal protection for qualified patients in housing and school situations
  9. Provide employment protection to qualified patients
  10. Provide custody protection to parents who are qualified parents
  11. Provide reasonable access to patients who are in nursing facilities
  12. Create a perpetual 20-person task force with vague duties

Frequently Asked Questions about HB 722

  • What are the qualifying conditions for medical cannabis patients under the proposed law?
    HB 722 greatly expands not only the number of conditions that make one eligible for medical cannabis, but it removes some of the most restrictive provisions of existing conditions. Under HB 722 the following conditions would qualify a patient for the medical cannabis program (red indicates a new condition):

    • Cancer (end-stage or when resulting treatment produces wasting, nausea and vomiting)
    • Mitochondrial disease
    • Parkinson’s disease
    • Sickle cell disease
    • Glaucoma
    • HIV/AIDS
    • Tourette’s Syndrome
    • ALS
    • Seizures (gone is the epilepsy or trauma requirement)
    • Severe and persistent muscle spasms, including those related to MS
    • Crohn’s Disease, Ulcerative Colitis or Irritable Bowl Syndrome (IBS)
    • Epidermolysis Bullosa
    • Terminal illness with a life expectancy of under one year if the illness or its treatment produces severe pain, nausea or severe vomiting or wasting
    • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
    • Intractable pain*
    • Autism
    • Alzheimer’s
    • Any other medical condition approved by the Commissioner
Intractable Pain
Intractable pain means a pain state in which the cause of the pain cannot be removed or otherwise treated with the consent of the patient and in which, in the generally accepted course of medical practice, no relief or cure of the cause of the pain is possible, or none has been found after reasonable efforts. Reasonable efforts for relieving or curing the cause of the pain may be determined on the basis of, but are not limited to, the following:

(A) When treating a nonterminally ill patient for intractable pain, evaluation by the attending physician and one or more physicians specializing in pain medicine or the treatment of the area, system, or organ of the body perceived as the source of the pain; or

(B) When treating a terminally ill patient, evaluation by the attending physician who does so in accordance with the level of care, skill, and treatment that would be recognized by a reasonably prudent physician under similar conditions and circumstances.

  • If I am already a qualified patient under Georgia’s Low THC Oil Registry program will I have to get re-certified?
    No. HB 722 specifies that any patient who holds a valid Low THC Oil Registry card as of June 30, 2016 will be automatically registered under the new program. Since current low THC oil cards are good for two years this will apply to everyone that is currently registered.
  • How is medical cannabis dispensed to patients?
    HB 722 provides for a highly-structured system for the cultivation and dispensing of medical cannabis products. Providers who are approved for licensing will be allowed to have four dispensing locations throughout the state. In an attempt to further sterilize the cannabis plant, the only people allowed to dispense medical cannabis to patients will be licensed pharmacists. A patient will only be able to procure what the pharmacist determines is a 30-day supply.
  • What about the 5% THC cap
    With the repeal of the Haleigh’s Hope Act the 5% THC cap will also be removed.
  • How much will enrollment cost?
    Patients will be required to pay $200 in order to enroll in the medical cannabis program, unless the person is receiving Social Security Disability, SSI, medical assistance or Peach Care, in which case the enrollment fee will be $50. This fee will have to be paid every two years.
  • When will dispensaries be operational?
    The application deadline for medical cannabis manufacturers is December 1, 2016. After winning applicants are chosen they must agree to begin supplying medical cannabis to patients by no later than July 1, 2017, with a 6-month extension allowed if necessary.

You can read a copy of House Bill 722 below or download a PDF copy here.

13 Responses to “A Look at Georgia’s Proposed Medical Marijuana Law and How Things Will Change if it is Passed

  • I’m praying this bill gets passed! My daughter has autism and we like other parents needs this for our child!

    • I have spoken to several parents who have said that cannabis oil helps their autistic children. It is a must-have for us.

  • I hope this passes also. My daughter has SMA, and her pain level is horrible from the various bone issues that go along with muscle wasting. This would be so much better than keeping a child on narcotics.

  • Another highly restrictive plan that will cause so much delay to patients. A Pharmacist…really. That professional will cost an arm and a leg and to run an efficient spot, you will be at the mercy of their hours. As a businessman that wants to open a dispensary and provide the best quality medicine to all in need…I can not see doing it and surviving once the taxation begins. Good Luck GA

    • Unfortunately, I doubt a less restrictive plan would pass in Georgia. I sincerely hope Marijuana becomes legal recreationally on a national level, and soon. Simply to allow easier access for those who need it. Some, (like my child) simply do not have time to wait for legislation.

  • When will this be voted on?

  • marijuana helps with so many diseases , pain -way to many to list . the fact that alcohol is legal and marijuana is not not is completely absurd!!! there is no addiction or danger to the public from thc as there are with alcohol it is crazy! give us our medical marijuana now! when will this be voted on? any one? thank you!

  • Would any of these laws allow patient to grow their own medical marijuana?

  • Medical Cannabis for patients with retractable pain is LONG overdue in the United States. We have a huge problem with prescription pain relievers and this problem could be solved if medical cannabis were available. It works for pain and it much safer for our bodies.

    When will this be voted on in Georgia and how can we make sure it passes so we can finally receive the pain relief we deserve without the side effects of strong prescription drugs.

  • I suffer from intractable pain & excruciating muscle spasms in my mid-upper back/shoulder blades. ‘Don’t even know the cause except about 20 years ago I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia & I also ‘ have advanced neck/spinal osteoarthritis. (Actually have suffered for 30 years!!) At this point I don’t know what it is; ‘just can’t take these painful spastic muscles anymore & truly hope that in GA the conditions for treatment with low THC medical marijuana are expanded in January of 2017!!

  • Makes me sick to be dictated to from a bureaucracy that knows or cares of those living in hell from chronic debilitating pain, PTSD, etc… How dare you! I guess in their eyes it’s better to saturate with prescribed narcotics.. you make me sick.. I do it anyway. I’d make a court room a circus if caught..

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *