COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - It was an uphill battle for lawmakers in Georgia, but cannabis oil is now legal to use in our state.
Georgia has joined several other states that permit some form of medical marijuana.
Governor Nathan Deal signed the medical cannabis oil bill into law on Thursday around 11 a.m.
The wait is over for several families who had to leave Georgia to use the oil.
Governor Deal was surrounded by several supporters at the capitol as he signed the new law called the Haleigh's Hope Act, making the use of cannabis oil legal, but only for those suffering from eight approved medical conditions.
Law enforcement from our area went to Colorado to find out how the Cannabis oil works there. The oil is not manufactured in Georgia, which can create some problems for patients.
"They have to figure out how to get it into Georgia. Until they work that out, bringing it across state lines would be a violation of federal law," Randy Robertson said, Fraternal Order of Police.
"I think that's what touched the hearts of the general assembly. It certainly has touched my heart and I'm just pleased that today we're going to make a difference," Governor Nathan Deal stated.
A lawyer in the metro Atlanta area and member of the National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) supports the new law.
"I think that it's a proper move that he signed it. When it comes down to it, people have a right to their own medical decisions," Walker Chandler said.
The cannabis oil will be legal for children and adults with one of the approved eight medical conditions: cancer, Crohn's disease, Lou Gehrig's disease, mitochondrial disease, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, seizure disorders and sickle cell disease.
"I think it would be difficult to regulate but something will be done and some people will be helped. It's better some helped than no people helped," Chandler said.
Law enforcement is being watchful and will work closely with the Department of Health, to identify patients of cannabis oil.
Robertson explained, "To make sure the cannabis oil is handled correctly to prevent anyone from getting into trouble and falling into the wrong hands."
At least 17 Georgia families who left for Colorado where the medical cannabis oil is legal, can return, but a physician must sign off for someone to carry up to 20 ounces of cannabis oil at any time.
"The proper way to do it would be to have the federal government change marijuana from a schedule 1 to a schedule 2 drug, so it could be tested they way it should be," said Robertson.
Chandler added, "I suspect some big pharmaceutical companies in the U.S. who will be able to comply with the regulations and the oils they provide will be expensive."
Georgia is now one of 37 states including Washington D.C. with some sort of medical marijuana law.
"I think the bill Governor Deal eventually signed does have some concern, cause it's the normal tactic of the marijuana legalization group to get a laundry list of symptoms," Robertson said.
Users will also need to have proper identification to show they can carry the cannabis oil. The oil can be used in many forms, such as ingested orally or rubbed directly onto your skin or ailment.
The state is expecting almost 500,000 patients to qualify to use cannabis oil in Georgia.