Georgia’s Small Farmers Shut Out During ‘Secretive’ Cannabis Licensing Process, Advocate Says


<![CDATA[After years of regulatory limbo that allowed registered patients in Georgia to possess—but not purchase—low-THC cannabis oil, the state has established a regulated market and has licensed six businesses to produce and sell the oil.However, some industry stakeholders question the state’s licensing process and the businesses that ultimately won the right to operate in Georgia’s market.“The process was relatively secretive for these companies to go out and apply for and receive these licenses,” Ryan Ralston, executive director of Peachtree NORML, told Cannabis Business Times and Cannabis Dispensary.In 2015, Georgia legalized the possession of cannabis oil containing a maximum of 5% THC. In 2019, Gov. Brian Kemp signed a bill that legalized the production and sale of low-THC cannabis oil in the state, and Ralston said Peachtree NORML followed this legislation closely.“One of the things that really stuck out to us was the fact that if a grower was going to apply for a Class I or a Class II license, right off the bat, they were going to have to be willing to waive their Fourth Amendment rights,” he said. “Basically, if you were going to operate as a dispensary, you had to sign a Fourth Amendment waiver, allowing local, state, and federal officials and law enforcement officials at any given time to enter your property without a warrant and search your property. That was one of the initial red flags on the legislation that we opposed.”Another requirement, Ralston added, was that applicants must have upwards of $1.5 million in cash on hand to qualify for a license.“Basically, what the legislation allowed for was bigger conglomerates to come into Georgia and not [allow] the smaller growers and smaller farmers [to produce] the low-THC oil here in Georgia,” he said.Many smaller farmers have been cultivating hemp in the state since the…

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Source : Georgia’s Small Farmers Shut Out During ‘Secretive’ Cannabis Licensing Process, Advocate Says

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