Medical Marijuana Laws Could Expand Under New Bill

The proposed legislation would allow 30 new medical cannabis dispensaries to open in Georgia and would allow the University System of Georgia to conduct research on the medical uses of low-THC cannabis.

In Georgia, the demand for legal cannabis has vastly outpaced the supply. The problem is not just that Georgia has yet to decriminalize cannabis possession at the state level. At the beginning of 2021, the state had only granted licenses to cultivate cannabis for medical purposes to six companies, so despite the growing number of patients with medical cannabis cards, there are only a handful of licensed dispensaries in Georgia, leaving most of the state as a legal cannabis desert. A new law went into effect in July 2021 which allows more medical cannabis dispensaries to open; this is a step toward medical cannabis being available to everyone who needs it. If you are facing criminal charges because you could not find legal cannabis when you needed it, contact an Atlanta drug possession lawyer, at Zimmerman & Associates.

How Senate Bill 195 Changes the Medical Cannabis Situation in Georgia

Earlier this year, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed Senate Bill 195 into law, and it took effect on July 1, 2021. It builds on earlier legislation which set up a framework by which patients could obtain authorization to use low THC cannabis to treat certain medical conditions. Georgia law defines low THC cannabis products as those which contain no more than five percent tetrahydro cannabidiol (THC), the compound in cannabis which causes the euphoric “high.” The law does not limit the concentration of cannabidiol (CBD) in the products. Georgia’s cannabis dispensaries can sell cannabis oils, edibles, and topical preparations, as well as CBD flowers, but they cannot sell smokable marijuana.

Senate Bill 195 creates 30 new licenses for medical cannabis dispensaries, which will sell low THC cannabis products to patients with valid medical cannabis cards issued by the state of Georgia. It will also authorize universities within the University System of Georgia to conduct medical cannabis research using low THC cannabis.

The Long Road to Legalization

The changes implemented by Senate Bill 195 will be a relief to Georgia’s many thousands of medical cannabis patients who have a hard time accessing the cannabis products that keep them healthy. Meanwhile, cannabis remains illegal at the state level, so in most cities and counties in Georgia, it is still possible to be criminally charged for marijuana possession. Another piece of encouraging news, though, is that Georgia recently implemented the Second Chance Act, which makes it possible to restrict and seal (in other words, to expunge) marijuana possession convictions and many other misdemeanor convictions for which you completed the sentence more than four years ago.

Contact Zimmerman & Associates About Criminal Charges for Medical Cannabis

An Atlanta criminal defense lawyer can help you if you are facing criminal charges for possession of marijuana. Contact Zimmerman & Associates in Norcross, Georgia to set up a free consultation.