Medical marijuana bill passes Georgia Legislature

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State lawmakers beat a midnight deadline to pass an expansion of medical marijuana in Georgia.

If signed by Gov. Brian Kemp, the bill would allow the in-state production and sale of low-potency medical marijuana oil, legally allowing patients to obtain the oil.

The compromise measure was passed by the state House and Senate late Tuesday after concerns that the bill would not pass before the midnight deadline.

It would fix an issue created by the state's 2015 medical marijuana law that allows certain patients to possess the drug but provides them no legal avenue to obtain it.

The final bill grants six growing licenses to private companies -- two for larger organizations and four for smaller organizations. That's four more licenses than what the Senate had allocated and four less licenses than what the House had originally specified.

It gives pharmacies the "first shot" at distributing the drug but allows a state commission to seek out independent retail locations if there is a need.

Patient advocates celebrated the passing of the bill, saying that it would keep them from having to break the law to get the oil their loves ones need and legally can have.

"No more meeting in parking lots and ordering off the internet from unknown suppliers," patient advocate Shannon Cloud said.

Critics worried that the bill could be the "first step toward the commercialization of recreational marijuana."

The Associated Press contributed to this story.