Jim “J-Bo” Wages holds a bottle of cannabis oil for her daughter Sydney at their home in Dallas on Wednesday, February 8, 2017. The family was among the very first to receive permission from Georgia to use low-dose cannabis oil without fear of prosecution. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

Georgia House passes medical marijuana expansion

The state House on Wednesday backed a much broader expansion of Georgia’s medical marijuana law, a statement vote after the Senate backed a similar measure that left many advocates unhappy.

House Bill 65, sponsored by state Rep. Allen Peake, R-Macon, would among other changes double the list of illnesses and conditions eligible for treatment with medical marijuana in Georgia to include AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease, autism, autoimmune disease, epidermolysis bullosa, HIV, peripheral neuropathy and Tourette’s syndrome.

It removes a one-year residency requirement.

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.

Additionally, the bill would let people who have registration cards from other states with similar low-THC cannabis oil laws also possess the oil here.

Under Georgia’s 2015 law, patients and, in the case of children, families who register 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.

The oil can have no more than 5 percent THC, the component in the drug that makes people high.

The House vote comes two weeks after the state Senate passed a medical marijuana measure that would add autism to the list of eligible conditions, but also reduce the allowable maximum THC level in the oil to 3 percent — a mandate unpopular with many of the law’s advocates.

Senators wanting to reduce the maximum THC level say the move would bring the state more in line with others that also allow limited forms of the oil. Federal officials continue to classify the oil as an illegal drug.

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