May 15, 2022

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Georgia approves medical marijuana licenses for 6 companies

3 min read
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The Georgia Access to Medical Cannabis Commission unanimously voted to license medical marijuana to six companies in Walker County Civic Center on Saturday, July 24, 2021.  MARK NIESSE / MARK.NIESSE@AJC.COM
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The Georgia Access to Medical Cannabis Commission unanimously voted to license medical marijuana to six companies in Walker County Civic Center on Saturday, July 24, 2021. MARK NIESSE / MARK.NIESSE@AJC.COM

Companies have one year to commence operations after possible protests against the loss of bidders after signing the contract to care for patients suffering from conditions such as seizures, terminal cancer and Parkinson’s disease.

Two companies have been licensed to grow medical marijuana oil on 100,000 square feet of indoor growing space: Trulieve GA Inc., a subsidiary of Florida-based Trulieve Cannabis Corp., and Botanical Sciences LLC, a company based in Glennville, South Georgia.

Four companies are licensed to operate smaller manufacturing facilities with 50,000 square feet of acreage: FFD GA Holdings, TheraTrue Georgia LLC, Natures GA LLC, and Treevana Remedy Inc.

The Commission assessed each company on the basis of the criteria set out in established criteria State Law Established cannabis oil production program in 2019. Companies submitted plans for production, operations, facilities, and tracking of seeds through to sale. The Company with the highest score won Georgia’s licenses.

Commissioners said they hope companies can get to work quickly to provide low-THC oil to waiting patients. The winning companies were announced in Rock Spring, northwest Georgia, as part of the Commission’s commitment to travel across the state and not just focus on Metro Atlanta.

“Patients are number one in Georgia. If we can get what we need to them as quickly as possible, that’s our job, ”said Austell Police Chief Bob Starrett, Member of the Commission.

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Atlanta-based Jessica Reid says approving medical marijuana oil licenses will help her legally obtain low-THC oil for her four-year-old son, Emmanuel, who is suffering from seizures.  Reid attended the Georgia Access to Medical Cannabis Commission meeting at Walker County Civic Center on Saturday, July 24, 2021.  MARK NIESSE / MARK.NIESSE@AJC.COM
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Atlanta-based Jessica Reid says approving medical marijuana oil licenses will help her legally obtain low-THC oil for her four-year-old son, Emmanuel, who is suffering from seizures. Reid attended the Georgia Access to Medical Cannabis Commission meeting at Walker County Civic Center on Saturday, July 24, 2021. MARK NIESSE / MARK.NIESSE@AJC.COM

After a long time Debates a number of bills in the Capitol passed in the law and a licensing process that started A year and a half ago, Georgia will soon have a functioning marijuana program. Until now, patients have illegally obtained low-THC oil, either through an informal patient network or by traveling to other states to buy it.

“We have finally reached a point where we can appreciate the next step in this process,” said Judith Rochon, psychiatrist at Kaiser Permanente Behavioral Health Department and commissioner.

If the drug is sold in pharmacies, only registered patients are allowed to buy it. Patients can obtain medical marijuana oil if they have multiple conditions described in Georgia law, get approval from a doctor, and apply for a low-THC oil registration card with the Georgia Department of Public Health.

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The number of medical marijuana producers could grow in the future.

Commission chairman Christopher Edwards, senior surgeon at the Atlanta Neurological & Spine Institute, said he would ask the Georgia General Assembly to approve an additional two to four licenses.

State lawmakers initially limited the number of licenses as part of a compromise between House and Senate leaders who had struggled to strike a balance between accessing legitimate patients and preventing the illegal spread of marijuana.

“Patients in Georgia deserve access to a drug they are registered with the Department of Health for,” said J’Lyn Furby of American Kinetics, a public relations firm focused on compliance in the cannabis industry. “This historic day in the state of Georgia will free families from the livelihood risk of bringing in medicinal cannabis oil.”

The next steps in the medical marijuana program will complete the award of contracts to the six winning companies and then begin operations in the coming months.

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