ATLANTA - Gov. Brian Kemp has officially signed the bill that allows medical marijuana patients to buy the cannabis oil they’re already legally allowed to use.
After the signing, Kemp agreed to speak with Diamant one on one.
“At the end of the day, we’re trying to help these families, help their kids, you know, and that’s the bottom line,” Kemp said.
State laws already let patients with specific medical conditions to possess and use the oil to treat symptoms, but they had no legal way to get it in Georgia.
- 5 relatives plead not guilty in deaths of kids starved, kept in cage
- Body found in Lumpkin County river confirmed to be missing woman
- Dangerous drugs uncovered across street from local high school, police say
After a yearslong push by parents and advocates, the bill Kemp signed paves the way for a state-regulated system to cultivate and sell medical marijuana through a limited number of growers and licensed sellers.
A compromise bill passed the legislation in the final hours of this year’s session.
“The smiles on these families’ faces make everything we went through worth it,” said Douglasville state Rep. Micah Gravley, who authored the original bill.
Critics of the bill are concerned it sends Georgia down a slippery slope toward full legalization, but Kemp told Diamant there are protections.
“I think if anybody really spends any time looking at the legislation, there’s a lot of safeguards in there that will keep this limited, keep it to help the patients that need it and that’s it," he told Diamant.
Getting the new system up and running could take 18 to 24 months. Those who rely on cannabis oil told us the bill offers hope.
“To know that they can buy it legally in the future without having to take risks to their families is amazing," said Shannon Cloud, an advocate for medical marijuana.
© 2019 Cox Media Group.