Governor Kemp Signs Georgia’s Hope Act Sponsored by Rep. Gravley
ATLANTA – State Representative Micah Gravley (R-Douglasville) today announced that House Bill 324, Georgia’s Hope Act, was signed into law by Governor Brian Kemp on Wednesday, April 17, 2019. Georgia’s Hope Act, which was sponsored by Rep. Gavley, will allow for the cultivation, manufacturing and dispensing of low THC oil in Georgia.
“With Governor Kemp’s signature, thousands of Georgians suffering from serious medical conditions will finally have an avenue to legally obtain this vital treatment,” said Rep. Gravley. “Georgia has made tremendous progress in recent years to legalize the possession of low THC oil, and this bill closes a crucial gap for patients seeking this treatment. I am thankful to Governor Kemp for enacting this impactful legislation, and I commend my colleagues in the General Assembly for passing this bill during the 2019 legislative session. Due to Governor Kemp’s final approval of HB 324, Georgians will now have safe, affordable access to medical cannabis options here in our state.”
The Georgia’s Hope Act provides a legal pathway to manufacture and dispense certain amounts low THC oil for patients with certain medical conditions such as terminal cancer, epilepsy, Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and severe autism. Only eligible patients that are registered with the Department of Public Health’s (DPH) Low THC Oil Patient Registry will be able to purchase and possess low THC oil from pharmacies throughout the state.
Under HB 324, the DPH will issue various classes of licenses to produce, grow and manufacture low THC oil by January 1, 2020. HB 324 authorizes the DPH to issue six private production licenses for two large and four smaller operations to grow cannabis or hemp products to produce low THC oil. These products will only be grown in controlled, indoor environments, and the owners or operators of these facilities are required to demonstrate their ability to safely and securely produce low THC oil products. This legislation also will create a seed-to-sale tracking system, and it will require facility inspections and sample testing of medical cannabis oil products.
Low THC oil products will be dispensed through approved pharmacies in Georgia. There are currently more than 8,000 patients registered with the THC Oil Patient Registry, and for this reason, the Low THC Oil License Oversight Board will work closely with the State Board of Pharmacy to issue a private dispensary license in order to reach more Georgians while maintaining safe dispensing practices.
HB 324 will also allow two universities to obtain a research growing license to better study, examine and determine the benefits and risks of cannabis and hemp production as the industry grows in the state. Finally, this bill will create a two-year and four-year disparity study to monitor the participation rates of this treatment and to study the participation of minority demographics to ensure equal opportunity in receiving low THC oil. Over the last two years, Rep. Gravley co-chaired the Joint Study Commission on Low THC Medical Oil Access, which dedicated its efforts to examine in-state access to medical cannabis and low THC oil, including the security and control of the process from acquisition and planting of seeds to final destruction of unused portions of the plant; quality control of the manufacturing process; and dispensing the final product. The commission identified several ways to ensure proper security safeguards and systems for evaluating the qualifications of potential licensees.