Georgia is perhaps one of the best examples of how a limited medical marijuana bill can be dragged through the mud with bureaucracy by way of secretive practices and bottlenecked politics.
Going on 6 years now, some 20,000 patients who have registered for medical marijuana in Georgia remain unable to access the cannabis products that the state approved years before.
The state has pressed on, hitting recent roadblocks with their private dealings in their process of providing licensing to a handful of applicants with permits to cultivate the low-THC cannabis oil.
Further delays in Georgia’s production of low-THC cannabis oil are currently underway, as many applicants who were denied licenses have protested the application process causing legal reviews on the Georgia Cannabis Commission.
Georgia Cannabis Commission Approves 6 Licenses for Cultivation
The Georgia Access to Cannabis Commission was tasked with assessing cultivation licenses for the state. It approved 6 of the 69 applicants who submitted their applications to grow and produce Low-THC cannabis oil for the Peach State.
Alongside being able to cultivate Georgia’s low-THC cannabis oil, each approved cultivator is permitted to open 5 dispensary stores to sell the low-THC CBD oil, making these applications a lucrative and tightly held financial opportunity for the selected companies to be approved.
Among the 6 approved applicants were Botanical Sciences, LLC, whose board is joined by former Rep. Tom Price, a Republican who strictly voted against medical marijuana bills during his time as a congressman.
Trulieve, a national cannabis company working in multiple states was also awarded a license. This company is operated by Kim Rivers as CEO, whose husband JT Burnette was recently convicted of public corruption including extortion and fraud by bribery.
Trulieve reportedly awarded a contract worth around $230 million dollars to a construction company co-owned by Burnette, bringing into question the pedigree of companies that were approved for cultivation licenses by those who were denied licenses.
Two other companies who operate cannabis businesses outside of the state of Georgia were also approved, while the remaining two licenses were awarded to Georgia-based startup companies.
Over a Dozen Protests Filed by Applicants for Cultivation Licenses in Georgia
Out of the 6 approved licenses, questions began to arise on the competency of newly created LLCs and Corporations with empty websites that were made shortly before applying. The lack of presence brought into question whether these companies would even be able to produce low-THC cannabis oil on a large-scale production level; but they were approved regardless.
In truth, information regarding the content of applications and the processes used to approve or deny them have all been kept tightly secret by the Georgia Cannabis Commission. This has exemplified a far cry from the transparency required to create a fair and equal opportunity program.
And as discussed in our previous article concerning the hidden practices of the Georgia Cannabis Commission, cultivation licenses total between $155,000 - $325,000. So, it’s no surprise that over a dozen denied applicants have raised serious questions about the practices of the GA Cannabis Commission.
The main protest, however, is surrounding exactly how the Georgia Cannabis Commission determined which licenses were qualified to produce low-THC cannabis oil. Because the commission has kept their operations entirely private, only the commission knows how they determined applicant eligibility for large-scale production.
And although usually government contracts are subject to heightened transparency to prevent backdoor deals and promote inclusion, the exact opposite approach was taken by the commission. With respect to their private processes of approving or denying applications, the commission has caused unrest for those who were denied licenses, forcing them to pursue reviews on the commission.
Protests Furthering Delays for the Production of Low-THC CBD Oil in Georgia
Unfortunately, the narrative that these protests will cause unnecessary delays in the production of low-THC cannabis oil is partly true. When taking the side of legislators, the delays that will occur while the application processes are being legally reviewed are entirely justifiable.
But in truth, the state has had 6 years to produce low-THC cannabis oil and has failed to do so, ultimately leaving chronic and terminally ill patients unable to legally procure their medicine within the state of Georgia.
All things considered, low-THC cannabis oil is the equivalent of CBD oil with slightly higher concentrations of THC, albeit mostly indifferent and unnoticeable from a psychoactive standpoint.
The Hope for Georgia’s Medical Marijuana Program
It’s our hope that after an extensive review of the secretive practices of the Georgia Cannabis Commission, the state will favor a more compassionate approach towards the medical marijuana program.
Getting patients the cannabis medicine that they need, as opposed to the bottlenecked and private golden goose that appears to be the Georgia medical marijuana program, should be the main priority.
In the end, it will likely be up to legislators and consumers to demand transparency that will create a better future for the Georgia medical cannabis program, and we hope that soon patients will have access to the medicine they were promised 6 years ago.
Getting Medical Marijuana Right in Georgia Will Take Time
On a positive note, the revelation of obscure practices from the commission may point legislators in the right direction to clear the red tape, and speed up the process to get medicine into the hands of patients.
As with all legislative processes, things take time, and the Georgia medical marijuana program is long overdue for a strong review of practices by legislators. With the expanded attention on how the current program is failing its citizens and patients, lawmakers are expected to ensure that these programs are running efficiently, and effectively as they make revisions.
It may very well turn out that the protests from applicants that were denied cultivation licenses could lead to a much broader reorganization of how the medical marijuana program in Georgia operates.
And these reviews will certainly lead lawmakers to investigate the sincere need for more transparency from the Georgia cannabis commission, as other departments are coordinating efforts to incorporate a fair and successful program.
Get Your Georgia Marijuana Card
Georgia approved the use of low-THC cannabis oil for qualifying patients, and currently patients can apply for a medical marijuana card ahead of dispensaries and cultivators becoming operational.
While we are waiting on dispensaries to become operational and expecting a large number of applicants to be submitted once stores are open, you can avoid the delays in receiving your medical marijuana card by applying today!
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