1,300 patients have qualified for Georgia’s medical marijuana registry

After battling for years to help treat his daughter, Sydney, who suffers from intractable seizures and uses cannabis oil as a treatment, J-Bo Wages finally holds his State of Georgia low THC oil registration card on Tuesday, August 11, 2015, in Dallas. The Wages were among the very first to receive permission from the state to use low-dose cannabis oil without fear of prosecution. Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com

Public health officials on Wednesday reported more than 1,300 patients have qualified for Georgia's medical marijuana registry, with nearly 300 doctors actively monitoring their use of the cannabis oil that is now allowed here.

The update came as an effort to expand the law, House Bill 65, was heard by the newly formed House Medical Cannabis Working Group. The group will meet again next week.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution will again have Georgia’s largest team covering the Legislature. Get complete daily coverage during the legislative session at myAJC.com/georgialegislature.

The bill, sponsored by the author of the law, state Rep. Allen Peake, R-Macon, would expand the list of illnesses and conditions eligible for treatment with medical marijuana in Georgia to include Alzheimer's disease, autism, HIV/AIDS, intractable pain, post-traumatic stress disorder and Tourette's syndrome.

Under a 2015 law, patients and, in the case of children, families registered with the state are allowed to possess up to 20 ounces of cannabis oil to treat severe forms of eight specific illnesses, including cancer, Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy.

Donna Moore, from the state Department of Public Health, said Wednesday that a majority of patients in Georgia use the oil to treat seizures or cancer. A majority of patients are white, and aged 25 years old or older.

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