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Georgia Gov. Kemp signs medical marijuana bill

ATLANTA (AP) - Some Georgia patients will soon be allowed to legally buy the marijuana they are already allowed to possess. Because of a legal quirk, patients and families have regularly broken the law to obtain low-potency medical marijuana oil. Gov. Brian Kemp on Wednesday signed a bill that would fix that problem, calling the new law a "carefully crafted, balanced" measure that would expand access for patients in need without opening the door to recreational drug use. "Instead of crossing state lines, breaking numerous laws in the process, these families can now stay in our great state," Kemp said. "We are ensuring that these families can purchase what works for their loved ones without creating a slippery slope." The legislation allows the in-state production and sale of the marijuana oil and closes a loophole in a 2015 law that banned growing, buying and selling the drug but allowed certain patients to possess it. Current state law allows people with 16 specific conditions, including cancer, seizure disorders and Parkinson's disease, to possess cannabis oil with less than 5 percent THC, the chemical that gets users high. Kemp's spokesman, Cody Hall, said the law takes effect July 1. It grants up to six growing licenses to private companies - two for larger organizations and four for smaller organizations. It also gives pharmacies priority for distributing the drug, but allows a state commission to seek out independent retail locations if it determines there is a need. The commission can also attempt to legally obtain the oil from other states. Two universities will be allowed to seek federal approval to research and produce the oil. The Republican-controlled legislature approved the measure despite objection from many Georgia sheriffs, who "absolutely do not...