After many decades of inconvenience, medical cannabis also known as marijuana has finally been legalized in Georgia for medical uses. House Bill 885 was signed into law at 11 a.m. on April 16th, 2015 by Republican governor Nathan Deal. The act is called Haleigh’s Hope Act.

The act is named for Haleigh Cox, a 5-year-old girl with medication-resistant epilepsy. Haleigh was on the brink of death and her parents had to move her to Colorado, where medical cannabis was legal. It was the only thing that would work to keep her alive. This particular case prompted the legalization of cannabis oil in GA.

However, the new Georgia law is still extremely restrictive. The only thing that is legal is cannabis oil, not any other form of cannabis. The cannabis oil is only allowed to have a low ThC level, no more than 5 percent. The federal law remains the same; marijuana is federally illegal to grow or sell, despite what the state law says.

The medical marijuana law only allows patients with a few specific disorders to be diagnosed with a prescription for it.  These disorders include cancer, Crohn’s disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease, mitochondrial disease, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, seizure disorders and sickle cell disease.  The only distributor that is currently in Georgia is the Halcyon Organics in Little Five Points.  Cultivation is still not legal in Georgia.

Haleigh’s Hope Act is indeed a step forward towards marijuana decriminalization even if this act is incredibly minimal and restrictive.