• Georgia to issue first medical marijuana cards Tuesday

    By: Lori Geary

    Updated:

    ATLANTA - Gov. Nathan Deal told Channel 2’s Lori Geary, “Tomorrow is going to be a good day,” in an exclusive interview about the launch of Georgia’s medical marijuana cards. 

    Geary learned the Georgia Department of Public Health’s website will go live Tuesday morning.

    An emotional Deal says parents of kids with severe seizure disorders were the driving force for him signing the bill into law.

    Special Section: Medical Marijuana in Georgia

    “On a personal level, trying to put ourselves in their place, it would be difficult for anybody to have to watch their child have multiple seizures every day,” Deal said.

    For the past several months, Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald, Georgia’s commissioner of the Department of Public Health, and her team have been working to come up with a secure, tamper proof system. 

    “The application has to be submitted by your doctor,” Fitzgerald told Geary.

    Patients will not be able to get approval for the cards on their own.

    To qualify for the cannabis oil, patients must suffer from one of eight conditions including cancer, Multiple sclerosis, sickle cell anemia, Crohn’s Disease, Mitochondrial Disease, ALS, Parkinson’s and severe seizure disorders. 

    “It’s not like you leave the doctor’s office with a prescription. You visit a doctor. The doctor sends the information to us electronically, then we let you know where that card can be obtained,” Fitzgerald said.

    State Rep. Allen Peake, who spearheaded the effort to legalize cannabis oil in Georgia, pointed out access is still an issue.

    Patients must either travel out of state or get it shipped in by companies willing to break federal law.

    As Peake works with state leaders on a plan to grow medical marijuana in Georgia, he also says there’s an easy federal fix.

    “My message to our congressmen and senators is change the damn law. It’s that simple; lives are at stake here,” Peake told Geary.

    Patients needing cannabis oil with less than .3 percent THC, the part of the plant that gets you high, can possibly get it shipped into Georgia, because it’s considered hemp.

    Peake says folks who need a higher THC level, including those who suffer from cancer or MS, would more than likely have to travel out of state and bring the cannabis oil back.  

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