Georgia’s medical marijuana bill is one step closer to becoming a reality.
Gov. Nathan Deal signed an executive order Friday morning directing state agencies to begin preparing for the law.
He plans to sign the bill after the session to ensure that no conflicts arise with other pieces of legislation.
The bill cleared its final legislative hurdle earlier this week when the House voted 160-1 to approve a Senate compromise.
It originally called for people with nine medical conditions to be eligible for treatment with cannabis oil that has a minimal level of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the chemical that makes pot users feel high.
Sen. Renee Unterman's Health and Human Services Committee deleted fibromyalgia from the list, leaving seizure disorders, sickle cell anemia, cancer, Crohn's disease, Lou Gehrig's disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), multiple sclerosis, mitochondrial disease and Parkinson's disease.
Janea Cox had to move to Colorado with her 4-year-old daughter Haleigh, who suffers from a seizure disorder, to have access to medical marijuana.
The passage of this bill, named "Haleigh's Law," means Cox won't be prosecuted in Georgia for treating her daughter's severe seizures with cannabis oil.
“Colorado has been good to us but Georgia is home. Georgia is definitely home,” Cox said. “To be able to come back home and get Haleigh’s medicine; It's done wonders for her, going from 200 plus seizures a day and on her death bed to a smiling happy girl.”
Gov. Deal’s office released a statement saying, in part: “This executive order is the first step in bringing home families who’ve sought relief elsewhere and for providing new medical solutions for Georgians suffering from debilitating conditions. I’ve instructed the Georgia Composite Medical Board and the Department of Public Health to begin taking immediate steps ahead of this law’s enactment. At the same time, law enforcement, health care providers and other stakeholders should make appropriate preparations.”