Haleigh’s Hope Act Is Georgia’s New Medical Marijuana Law

You can add Georgia to the list of states that have a medical marijuana law. As of April 16, 2015, Haleigh’s Hope Act permits patients suffering from cancer (if the cancer is end stage or the treatment produces related wasting illness, recalcitrant, nausea and vomiting), ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease (when it is severe or end stage), seizure disorders related to diagnosis of epilepsy or trauma related head injuries, multiple sclerosis (when such diagnosis is severe or end stage), crohn’s disease, mitochondrial disease, Parkinson’s disease (when such diagnosis is severe or end stage), or sickle cell disease (when such diagnosis is severe or end stage). Persons with any of these diagnosed conditions may possess up to 20 ounces of “low THC oil.” The low THC oil can contain no more than 5% THC, the psychoactive agent in marijuana. Possession of more than 20 ounces of low THC oil is a criminal offense.

The Department of Public Health is required to issue registration cards to individuals and their caregivers by September 1, 2015, when the individual has been diagnosed with a qualifying condition and has been authorized by their physician to use low THC oil as treatment for their condition. The Georgia Composite Medical Board is required to establish procedures and promulgate rules and regulations to assist physicians in providing information relating to certification. The law also establishes a Georgia Commission on Medical Cannabis. The purpose of the Commission is to establish comprehensive recommendations regarding the potential regulation of medical cannabis in Georgia. The Board is required to submit a detailed report by December 31, 2015.

The law specifically addresses the use of medical marijuana in the workplace. An employer is not required to permit or accommodate the use or possession of marijuana in any form. An employer may still have a written zero tolerance policy prohibiting the on- duty, and off-duty, use of marijuana. They may also prohibit any employee from having a detectable amount of marijuana in their system while at work.

Written by: Richard Sheinis, Esq.

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