The Georgia House of Representatives passed a bill on March 7 that would increase the number of medical cannabis licenses available. passage House Bell 196 which had 170 votes in favor and only two against, would raise the current license number from six to 15. According to Capitol win The passage of this law is intended to address the lawsuits that the state of Georgia has received from cannabis companies whose licenses have been denied.
Although Georgia first legalized the possession of medicinal cannabis oil in 2015, it took lawmakers four years to introduce bills regulating the cultivation and sale of cannabis. in 2019Six licenses were issued in total, including two Class 1 licenses (for farming up to 100,000 square feet) and four Class 2 licenses (cultivating up to 50,000 square feet).
This includes two holders of Class 1 licenses Botanical Sciences LLC and Trulieve Georgia, and four Class 2 licensees that have been delayed due to numerous lawsuits, causing all selected applicants to be suspended.
Initially, Class 2 licenses were awarded to FFD GA Holdings, TheraTrue Georgia LLC, Natures GA LLC, and Treevana Remedy Inc. In July 2021. Protests were submitted by applicants who were not selected. according to Christine Goodman, the attorney representing these four applicants who did not win a license, the licensing process was a “train wreck”. She also stated that the two licenses that were confirmed went to companies outside the country. They do not serve children with hypertensive seizures in Northwest Georgia. They don’t serve children with cancer in southwest Georgia.” Goodman said. “They have all the market they need right here in the central part of the state.”
In an effort to rectify the situation, the House of Representatives introduced HB-1425 in February 2022 Which would have started the entire licensing process from scratch. Senate presentation a Replacement for HB-1425 That would require the Georgia Commission on Medical Cannabis to grant licenses to six applicants, but not specifically the same six applicants that were originally selected. In the end, the House bill closed and the Senate version moved forward, but ultimately died at the end of 2022.
Rep. Alan Powell spoke to lawmakers on March 6 about the necessity of HB-196 as a way to solve the persistent problem. “Let’s fix the system,” Powell said. “Let’s move on and move on.”
HB-196 also requires that a Oversight Committee of the Medical Cannabis Commission They are created to manage “memberships, inspections, provision of information, planning for approved laboratory tests, and patient and physician input.” If passed, it would also allow the commission to increase the number of dispensaries based on the number of registered medical cannabis patients. Every increment of 5,000 patients will allow an additional Class 2 license, and every 10,000 patients will allow an additional Class 1 license, in order to keep up with demand. As of February, there Almost 25,000 patients with medical cannabis in the state registry.
Now HB-196 is moving to the Senate for consideration.
Meanwhile, the owners of Botanical Sciences LLC and Trulieve Georgia are moving forward with their own businesses. said Botany CEO Gary Long Georgia Public Broadcasting about his progress. “We’ve already begun the production process, which begins with growing the cannabis plant in our indoor cultivation facility to produce a variety of tinctures, capsules, and topicals designed to meet the needs of Georgia patients,” Long said. “The opening of our facility was a significant milestone for our company, for the City of Glenville, and for the many thousands in need who have been waiting for access to this important type of medicine.”
Trulieve issued a press release on December 6, 2022. “Trulieve is thrilled to be awarded the license to produce cannabis in Georgia and we appreciate the Commission’s diligence throughout the selection process,” said Trulieve’s CEO. Kim Rivers. “We look forward to educating the Georgia market about the many health and wellness benefits of cannabis, as well as providing patients statewide access to the medical cannabis they are looking for.”