Georgia physicians who want to submit patients to Georgia’s Low THC Oil Registry can generally do so in just a few steps. First, you must have a bona fide patient-doctor relationship with someone you determine has one of the following eight conditions:
- Cancer, when such diagnosis is end stage or the treatment produces related wasting illness or recalcitrant nausea and vomiting
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, when such diagnosis is severe or end stage
- Seizure disorders related to diagnosis of epilepsy or trauma related head injuries
- Multiple sclerosis, when such diagnosis is severe or end stage
- Crohn’s disease
- Mitochondrial disease
- Parkinson’s disease, when such diagnosis is sever or end stage
- Sickle cell disease, when such diagnosis is severe or end stage
- Tourette’s syndrome, when such syndrome is diagnosed as severe
- Autism spectrum disorder, when (a) patient is 18 years of age or more, or (b) patient is less than 18 years of age and diagnosed with severe autism
- Epidermolysis bullosa
- Alzheimer’s disease, when such disease is severe or end stage
- AIDS when such syndrome is severe or end stage
- Peripheral neuropathy, when symptoms are severe or end stage
- Patient is in hospice program, either as inpatient or outpatient
- Intractable pain
- Post-traumatic stress disorder resulting from direct exposure to or witnessing of a trauma for a patient who is at least 18 years of age
In May 2017 the Haleigh’s Hope Act was amended to remove the one-year residency requirement. As long as the patient is a Georgia resident the length of time they have lived here no longer matters.
How to certify a patient1For each patient that you will be certifying you must complete two forms: A Physician Certification Form and a Low THC Oil Waiver. The DPH allows patients to download and pre-fill out pertinent areas, or you may choose to provide one for them. As all information is entered electronically, the original Waiver form must be stored in your files and and the Physician Certification may be retained or destroyed (at your discretion) after the patient or caregiver has been entered into the system. 2In order to register a patient or caregiver with the Georgia Department of Public Health you must first create an account on the state’s website. You can create your account by clicking here and providing information about yourself and your practice. Your credentials will be confirmed automatically and you will receive a confirmation email from the Department of Public Health for your records. 3Once you have registered with the DPH you can login to the Low THC Oil Registry by clicking here. After logging in you can add a new patient by clicking the “Add Patient” link. Complete all information, including caregiver information if needed (up to two caregivers are allowed and each will be issued a Low THC Oil Registry card). You can also see the current status of previous patient certifications (see screenshot below).
Here are a Few Frequently Asked Questions from the Georgia Department of Public Health website
Am I required to certify an eligible patient?
No. The decision whether to certify a patient is eligible for the Low THC Registry is left entirely to your judgment. The bill does not authorize physicians to prescribe marijuana for medical use. You are merely asked to determine whether their patient meets the law’s criteria to use low THC oil.
Will I be prosecuted by Georgia or federal law enforcement for registering patients?
No. The registration process has been established by Georgia law and it does not violate any state or federal laws.
Will I lose my medical license for registering patients?
No. In fact, the Georgia Composite Medical Board established the criteria to be used for certifying patients for the Low THC Oil Registry, and approved the waiver and certification forms.
Is my registering a patient the equivalent of writing them a prescription for low THC oil?
No. The act of registering a patient is merely a certification that you have an established relationship with the patient, have examined them and determined they have one of the eight medical conditions set forth in the statute. In fact, the certification form approved by the Georgia Composite Medical Board specifically states that it is not a prescription.
How does the new law compare to laws in other states which have adopted medical marijuana
Georgia’s law is much more limited than some other states’ medical marijuana laws. For example, it does not legalize the sale or possession of marijuana in leaf form, and it does not authorize retail stores to sell marijuana or products made from the marijuana plant. It does not authorize physicians to prescribe marijuana for medical use. It is intended solely to protect qualified persons from criminal prosecution for possessing low THC oil for medicinal purposes.
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