Georgia lawmakers close to allowing limited use of medical marijuana
Woman smoking marijuana (Shutterstock)

Georgia lawmakers are poised to legalize a non-smoking form of medical marijuana for patients with seizure disorders and other conditions under a bill that passed the state Senate on Tuesday.

A version of the bill was previously approved by the state House of Representatives, which is expected to sign off on minor changes made by the Senate.

The Georgia legislation would allow patients with diseases including cancer and multiple sclerosis to use a non-intoxicating oil derived from the marijuana plant, a strain commonly known as "Charlotte's Web."

Patients or their caregivers would first be required to obtain a registration card from the state Department of Public Health. Their physician also must certify that they are being treated for one of the medical conditions covered by the bill.

Georgia would be the 12th U.S. state to have such a program, according to the pro-marijuana organization NORML.

The non-euphoric oil is considered a less expansive approach than seen in another 23 states allowing regular marijuana to be smoked for medicinal purposes.

Still, a similar Georgia bill failed last year on the final day of the legislative session.

A spokesman for state Republican Governor Nathan Deal declined to comment on whether he would sign the legislation.

(Reporting by David Beasley; Editing by Letitia Stein and Sandra Maler)