It was on Tuesday that the Georgia House approved a bill, 123-40, that will permit medical marijuana growing and allow medical marijuana oil to be sold to registered patients.

The bill, called House Bill 324, would also allow manufacturing, testing and distribution. Sixty dispensaries would serve the state’s physician-approved medical marijuana patients. There are over 8,400 patients currently.

The legislation would not allow smoking or vaping medical marijuana oil.

“These aren’t people who are seeking a recreational high. These aren’t people who are seeking to use illicit drugs,” said state Rep. Micah Gravley, a Republican from Douglasville. “These are people who have tried and failed with opioids. These are people who want their children to suffer less seizures.”

The bill will now advance to the state Senate. Gov. Brian Kemp. Kemp has said that he is open to “research-based expansion” of medical marijuana.

“The path Georgia is taking now is a very treacherous and dangerous path,” stated Terry Norris, the executive director of the Georgia Sheriffs’ Association.

“The sheriffs are serious when they say that marijuana is a dangerous, addictive gateway drug. Even though we’re not taking about legalizing for recreational purposes, we believe all the notoriety of this discussion will lead to increased marijuana use by children.”

“It was hypocritical to me to pass bills to let this substance be available to the sickest folks that needed it, the worst, and yet we didn’t give them the access to get it,” said Regulated Industries Chairman Alan Powell, a Republican from Hartwell. “There’s nothing in this bill that will encourage recreational use.”

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