Breaking News
More () »

Late deal sought on medical cannabis bill in Georgia

The measure seeks more supply for Georgia patients unable to buy medication.

ATLANTA — Before they go home next Wednesday, some Georgia lawmakers want to give patients needing medical marijuana more ways to get it legally.

Georgia’s effort to allow patients to legally use medical marijuana has gone on for the better part of a decade and yet – patients still can’t get it.

"It’s frustrating. I mean, I risk my freedom," said Christopher Quieort, who takes medical cannabis to treat a condition causing benign tumors to grow on and inside his body.  

He has to import it from California – which is illegal under federal law.

Although Georgia has licensed two companies to grow marijuana to create cannabis oil, critics say it’s not enough and the licensing process has been too secretive.

"This does not solve the immediate problem we have," said state Rep. Alan Powell (R-Hartwell), who is behind a bill that would require the Georgia Cannabis Commission to abide by the state open records act. He also wants to broaden access to medical cannabis by allowing licensed growers to also sell it. 

Powell also wants to increase the number of state-issued grow licenses – but the senate regulated industries committee stripped that from Powell’s bill.

He says although his bill would help patients – he knows lawmakers have failed over the years to broaden access to cannabis oil for Georgia patients.

"I try to be optimistic but I’m a realist," said Powell, who joined the legislature in 1989. "It could languish for another year or two. Or it may be solved."

Powell says he hopes the medical cannabis bill can pass the Senate, get back to the House, go to a conference committee, get rewritten and then pass the House and Senate again – all between now and Wednesday night’s adjournment.

Before You Leave, Check This Out