New Georgia Laws Now in Effect

Several laws passed by legislators this year were implemented in Georgia last week, including bills that affect healthcare, education, and the legal age for a person to get married. One of the most controversial laws passed this year, the “Heartbeat Bill,” will not go into effect until January of next year.

Out of the hundreds of laws passed this year, one of the biggest that went into effect last week is House Bill 324, which will now give patients who use THC medical marijuana oil for treatment the opportunity to receive the drug legally in the state of Georgia.

The new law states that up to six private companies are allowed to grow medical marijuana in Georgia, and it sets up a state board to license dispensaries. The law also states that pharmacies will be allowed to the provide the oil for prescribed patients if they choose to do so, although it is uncertain how long it will be until that opportunity is given.

The bill also states that the University of Georgia and Fort Valley State University will be given a license to “produce, manufacture, and purchase low THC oil;” however, this will be dependent on federal approval.

House Bill 218 will change the eligibility requirements for the HOPE Scholarship, allowing students to now be eligible for 10 years after they graduate high school instead of seven years.

House Bill 282 was also passed this year making it now required for law enforcement agencies to save evidence gathered from sexual assaults, such as rapes, for up to 50 years. The current law only requires evidence to be saved for 10 years.

The law will now require stains, fluids, and hair samples to be kept for 50 years if no arrest is made in the sexual assault case. If a suspect is arrested, evidence will be kept for 30 years from the time a suspect is arrested or seven years after the suspect’s sentence is complete.

A new law will now also change the minimum age to be married from 16 to 17 and will require that if the individual is 17, they must be emancipated from their parents before they become legally married.

Several other laws that are now in effect include: House Bill 12, which requires public schools to post signs displaying phone numbers to report child abuse or neglect; House Bill 62, which requires doctors to warn patients who have dense breast tissue that might make detecting breast cancer more difficult; House Bill 287, which gives tax credits to community medical professionals who work with training students; House Bill 364, which prohibits retaliation by a landlord against a tenant for taking certain actions; Senate Bill 170, which requires state-owned properties to fly flags honoring veterans on certain holidays and when Georgia military residents die while in the line of duty; and Senate Bill 184, which requires state employee health insurance plans to pay for services provided by federally-qualified health centers and are reimbursed at no less than the Medicare maximum allowable reimbursement rate.

A list of all the new laws passed in Georgia can be found on the Georgia General Assembly’s website at http://www.legis.ga.gov.

The Douglas Enterprise

P.O. Box 750
Douglas, Georgia 31534

Phone: (912) 384-2323
Fax: (912) 383-0218