What Law Enforcement Needs to Know about Georgia’s Medical Marijuana Law
What does the new law do?
Georgia’s new medical marijuana law allows certain qualified persons to legally possess up to 20 fluid ounces of “low THC oil,” which is derived from the marijuana plant. It authorizes the Georgia Department of Public Health to issue a “Georgia Low THC Oil Registry Card” to qualified persons, which will prove that they are authorized to have the oil in their possession.
How does the new law compare to laws in other states which have adopted medical marijuana?
Georgia’s law is much more limited than some other states’ medical marijuana laws. For example, it does not legalize the sale or possession of marijuana in leaf form, and it does not authorize retail stores to sell marijuana or products made from the marijuana plant. It does not authorize physicians to prescribe marijuana for medical use. It is intended solely to protect qualified persons from criminal prosecution for possessing low THC oil for medicinal purposes.
Who is allowed to obtain a Georgia Low THC Registry Card?
There are three categories of persons who may apply for the card: (1) an adult who has one or more of the eight diseases specified in the new law, and who has been a resident of Georgia for at least one year; (2) legal guardians of an adult who has one of the eight diseases specified in the new law, and who has been a resident of Georgia for at least one year; and (3) parents or legal guardians of a minor child who has one or more of the eight diseases specified in the new law, and has been a resident for at least one year or was born in Georgia and is under one year of age. A doctor’s certification is required.
What does a Georgia Low THC Registry card look like?
Information on Front of Card:
To be considered valid, the front of the card should be varying shades of orange. Language on the front of the card should include “State of Georgia,” “Low THC Oil Registration Card” and “CALL DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH TO VERIFY: 1-866-PUB-HLTH.” Information on the front of the card should include the card holder’s name, address and date of birth, as well as the card’s issue date, expiration date and unique serial number. Look for the official State Seal in white and the shaded outline of the state of Georgia in the lower right corner of the card.
Information on Back of Card:
To be considered valid, the back of the card should be white and contain a bar code, number and the following language: “IN ACCORDANCE WITH O.C.G.A. SECTION 31-2A-18 THIS CERTIFIES THAT CAREGIVER IS DULY REGISTERED WITH AND AUTHORIZED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH TO POSSESS UP TO 20 FLUID OUNCES OF LOW THC OIL”
Note: 1-866-PUB-HLTH will be staffed 24 hours per day, 7 days per week and will be available to verify whether a person is current in the registry.
Cards may be laminated to protect the information printed on them by the Office of Vital Records.
What do I do if a card is expired?
Cards will be valid for two years from the date they are issued. The expiration date can be found on the front of the card. If you believe a card has expired, please call 1-866-PUB-HLTH to verify the card is no longer valid.
What does low THC oil look like?
Low THC oil packaging may vary in appearance. However, the law requires that the low THC oil be “in a pharmaceutical container labeled by the manufacturer indicating the percentage of tetrahydrocannabinol therein,” be less than 5 percent tetrahydrocannabinol by weight, and that the amount of oil in the container – or containers – not exceed 20 fluid ounces total.
Does this law allow Georgians to possess other forms of marijuana?
No. The law does not legalize the possession of any types of marijuana in Georgia except 20 fluid ounces of low THC oil for persons with a valid Georgia Low THC Registry Card. Possession of any other form of marijuana by anyone not authorized to possess it remains a violation of state and federal law.
Does this law allow non-Georgia residents to possess low THC oil?
No. The law only authorizes the issuance of a Low THC Registry Card to qualified Georgia residents.
Does this law authorize the sale of low THC oil in Georgia?
The new law does not address how low THC oil is made, purchased or shipped. The law only creates a procedure to ensure qualified persons are protected from prosecution for having it in their possession. The Georgia Department of Public Health does not prescribe or dispense low THC oil.