The Georgia House on Tuesday approved a bill that would allow medical marijuana to be grown, manufactured and distributed in the state.
The bill passed on a 123-40 vote and will allow patients a legal way to obtain medical marijuana oil in the state, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
“These aren’t people who are seeking a recreational high. These aren’t people who are seeking to use illicit drugs,” said state Rep. Micah Gravley (R). “These are people who have tried and failed with opioids. These are people who want their children to suffer less seizures.”
Georgia has previously allowed patients to use medical marijuana for seizures and cancers since 2015. Former Gov. Nathan Deal (R) signed a bill last year allowing for those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and intractable pain to use cannabis oil for treatment.
However it has previously been against the law to grow, buy, sell or transport the drug, leaving patients on the medical marijuana registry with no method of obtaining it, the newspaper noted.
The proposal would also license 60 medical marijuana dispensaries in the state, with licenses costing $150,000 for large companies, $37,500 for smaller companies and $30,000 for retailers.
The dispensaries will serve the more than 8,400 Georgians listed on the medical marijuana registry. Marijuana will still be prohibited for recreational use, the Journal-Constitution noted.
The measure advances to the state Senate for consideration.
Gov. Brian Kemp (R) said in January that h was open to the idea of in-state cultivation of medical marijuana, the newspaper previously reported.
“I sympathize and empathize with them on that issue, and I support research-based expansion,” he said. “Thankfully, there is some research that’s going on in this field that will give us some good data that will kind of tell us how to move forward.”