- Hammond Lewis
Hearings Over Georgia Cannabis Commission Protests to Happen Soon
The low-THC cannabis program in Georgia is hoping to speed up its current cannabis stall by handing over authority to a new department.
The new department will reportedly be better equipped to review the barrage of protests over the State’s cannabis licensing debacle, which has made no headway in three years.
Georgia’s program has been stalled for nearly a decade now, and since 2015 patients have been waiting for Georgia’s proposal for an alternative cannabis product.
Unfortunately, alongside Georgia’s failed compromise program, the commission designated to process cultivation licenses has been accused of approving and denying licenses under suspicious circumstances, causing Georgia’s low-THC CBD oil to still be on the back-burner.
Now, with heightened attention from state offices, Georgia is looking to expedite the protests submitted by cultivators and get the program back on track.
Georgia Cannabis Commission Hands Over Reins to State Office
How Georgia’s Limited Cannabis Program Became Stalled
Georgia’s low-THC cannabis program has been stalled for years, beginning with legislators passing a limited compromise bill called Haleigh’s Hope in 2015.
A few years later, in 2017, the list of approved conditions for medical marijuana were expanded, though there was still no infrastructure or laws to implement any cannabis products in the Peach State.
It wasn’t until 2019, 4 years after the original program had passed, that legislators put together a procedure and commission to handle cultivation licensing and processing.
With extremely high (and some non-refundable) fees for applying, businesses shelled out hundreds of thousands of dollars in the application process looking to become an approved cultivator, though out of the many cultivators that applied, only 6 were chosen, and 15 applicants filed protests.
Office of State Administrative Hearings to Handle Cannabis Protests
In response to the protests filed against the commission over its processes, lawmakers proposed several pieces of legislation that could address the protests, add more cultivators, or grant all the licenses, but every bill to fix Georgia’s cannabis program failed to pass.
Governor Kemp addressed the State’s ball-drop with cannabis by offering $150,000 from the Governor’s Emergency Fund to expedite the hearings over the protests, and now, the commission has unanimously voted to hand over the hearings to the Office of State Administrative Hearings.
The OSAH will reportedly have more resources to investigate the commission processes and the intention is to expedite hearings and get the cannabis program back on track.
Previous legislation had included provisions to move the authority from the cannabis commission in Georgia, though like all progressive cannabis legislation in Georgia, it failed to pass.
What’s Next for Georgia Cannabis?
Hearings Will Review Georgia Cannabis Commission Licensing Process
The protests filed against the Georgia cannabis commission will still need to take place, and the judicial proceedings will take time.
The goal is to speed up the process by moving the hearings to a more competent department, though it’s unclear how the program will be affected by the results of the protests.
Once the hearings are completed, the licensing procedure will either stand with the 6 approved licenses, new licenses will be added, or the whole process will be restarted, but regardless of how the hearings turn out, cannabis is still a far reach for Georgia.
It’s possible that we could see the program get back on its feet by the end of the year, though it’ll still take quite a bit of time to get construction permits, finalize cultivation facilities, and get products on shelves.
Cultivation Permits Are the First Step, Not the Last
The real setback will be the infrastructure required to legally produce and sell the alternative cannabis product that Georgia wants to produce.
Although the program will certainly see a boost from clearing out the protests, there’s still no procedures, permits, buildings, products, or businesses operational.
There’s also no clear cut answer about the product that Georgia wants to produce, which is essentially CBD oil with slightly higher amounts of THC than hemp.
These products don’t exist yet, and we’re only at the part of the conversation where we decide who is allowed to produce them, and nowhere near the idea of how they’ll be produced.
It’s likely that these questions won’t be answered until the hearings over the cultivator protests are finalized, and then we’ll have a better idea of what the future looks like for Georgia. Once the protests are over, companies who are approved for a cultivation license will need to get construction started on cultivation facilities, which require extensive permits, licensing, zoning, and mountains of paperwork.
We’re still a ways away from Georgia getting a comprehensive medical marijuana program, though the State might be inching forward by expediting the protests.
Get Your Georgia Marijuana Card
Georgia’s medical marijuana program intends to give patients with qualifying conditions access to a low-THC cannabis oil. The program is currently on hold, though in the future, patients will be able to register for a low-THC certification that will permit them access to the new product.
Once the program comes online, we’ll begin processing applications. You can pre-register for your appointment today by reserving your spot online!
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