Governor Expedites Legal Hearings Over Cannabis Program in Georgia
Patients have been waiting seven years for legal access to medical marijuana in Georgia, and a slew of complications at the legislative level have prevented that from happening.
Without access to cannabis oil that hasn’t even been made yet, patients have been patiently waiting for Georgia to kickstart it’s medical cannabis program, though there haven’t been any major moves forward until now.
Governor Kemp has appointed a new board chairman of the cannabis commission and dedicated $150,000 of emergency funding to expediting the legal proceedings the commission is currently undergoing.
In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about the latest updates to Georgia’s medical cannabis program!
How Did Georgia’s Cannabis Program Fail So Miserably?
Legislators Drop the Ball, and Then Fumble
Georgia’s medical marijuana program passed in 2015 and made it legal to possess a specific type of cannabis-derived CBD oil that didn’t exist yet. The program was then delayed for four years until legislation that created the path for cultivators to create the oil was introduced in 2019.
Shortly thereafter, the State’s cannabis commission began accepting licenses for medical marijuana cultivation facilities and six of the 69 applicants were approved.
16 of the denied applicants quickly filed lawsuits against the commission, claiming that the commission approved licenses on unreasonable grounds and that the proceedings were handled with unclear and unfair processes.
Now, seven years later in 2022, the program has remained at a standstill, with no cannabis-derived CBD oil, no cultivators, and no medical marijuana patients.
Georgia’s Program Started Off on the Wrong Foot
Georgia’s medical marijuana program didn’t start off by offering medical marijuana to patients with chronic and terminal illnesses like many other programs that are conceived.
Instead, Georgia started with the most limiting framework of circumstances, offering essentially CBD oil for patients who have been diagnosed with one of only a few conditions.
In fact, the program wasn’t exactly created with any idea of supply chain management, business operations, or real patient use-cases at all, which is evident by how legislators managed to write and pass a bill that allowed the possession of a substance before it was even created.
Then, in a rush to prevent too many businesses from producing and dispensing the CBD oil, legislators were determined to pass bills that micro-managed the licensing of cultivators and restricted the number of licenses to only six. This restriction ultimately ended with license costs being set at astronomical rates culminating with angry cultivators suing the commission.
How Will Georgia’s Program Get Kickstarted?
Governor Kemp’s Support for Moving Forward
Governor Kemp has recently offered $150,000 in emergency funding to expedite legal hearings and appointed a new chairman on the commission.
With hopes of getting Georgia out of the legal mud, the best case for this move is getting Georgia’s program back onto an ultimately failing road, which leads to a hyper-inflated medical marijuana program with limited access to products.
Many patients and legislators have called for a complete rewrite of the medical marijuana program, and that’s likely the best outcome for Georgia at this point.
The Governor’s funding offers a temporary solution to a long-term problem that could easily delay Georgia’s medical marijuana program another decade, though we hope to see legislation pass that will put patients first and profits second.
Other Bills May Still Have a Chance at Changing the GA Medical Cannabis Program
Ultimately, drastic changes are required to get medical marijuana into the hands of patients in Georgia.
Aside from the significant delays that the ongoing lawsuits create, the list of approved conditions is still too small and the product itself is still too diminished.
Georgia patients looking to use cannabis as a medicine are waiting for the State to turn the page and look for a more compassionate way to expand the program, and the profit margins of cultivators and distribution pipelines aren’t exactly the turning point that voters are concerned with.
Assuming Georgia manages to pass one of the handful of bills that were created to rewrite and restart the program, patients might be able to see medical marijuana products available within a reasonable timeframe, though it will likely take a bit more influence from people like Governor Kemp before that happens.
Get Your Georgia Marijuana Card
Georgia’s medical marijuana program sought to offer low-THC cannabis oil with less than 5% THC to patients with severe chronic and terminal illnesses. After years of delays, the program has not managed to install cultivation facilities or create its cannabis-derived product, and patients are waiting for the State to open its medical marijuana program.
We will be processing medical marijuana certifications as soon as the system is live for Georgia patients.
Reserve your appointment today and get $25 off when we start processing applications!
Feel free to give us a call at (866) 781-5606, and we can help answer your questions about getting medical marijuana in Georgia.