Georgia Lawmakers Consider Separate Medical Cannabis Production Bills

Georgia Lawmakers Consider Separate Medical Cannabis Production Bills
High Times

Lawmakers in Georgia on Tuesday took action to resuscitate the state’s medical cannabis program, with the House and Senate advancing separate bills designed to allow the production and sale of medicinal cannabis oil. The Georgia state legislature passed the Haleigh’s Hope Act, a measure that allowed patients with certain medical conditions including seizure disorders and end-stage cancer to use cannabis oil containing no more than 5 percent THC, in 2015. But lawmakers failed to pass legislation allowing the regulated production and sale of cannabis oil, leaving patients with no legal way to obtain their medicine. In 2019, lawmakers finally approved a bill to permit medical pot cultivation and cannabis oil production and sales. The same year, Governor Brian Kemp, Lieutenant Governor Geoff Duncan and House Speaker David Ralston appointed a seven-member commission to draft regulations and license medical cannabis producers. Two years later, the GA Access to Medical Cannabis Commission (GMCC) announced that it would award licenses to six companies from the pool of nearly 70 applicants. Nearly two dozen of the unsuccessful applicants filed protests, and one prospective cannabis operator, Georgia Atlas, filed a lawsuit characterizing the state’s selection process as “lacking in transparency, objectivity and fairness.” The legal action has stalled the licensing process, leaving Georgia’s 20,000 registered medical weed patients still without access to legal cannabis oil. Two Separate Bills Approved To rectify the situation, Georgia lawmakers approved two bills on Tuesday to restart the licensing process. Senate Bill 609 from Senator Jeff Mullis would direct the GMCC to re-evaluate the application proposals already submitted and select the six “highest qualified applicants” to receive licenses. The legislation was approved in the Senate with a unanimous vote of 52-0. “The sole purpose of the bill is to move the ball forward on getting medical cannabis to the folks…

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