Georgia House passes bill to increase medical pot licenses
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Georgia House passes bill to increase medical pot licenses

On March 7, the Georgia House of Representatives approved a bill that would increase the number of medical cannabis licenses. House Bill 196 was passed by 170 votes to approve and two against. It would increase the number of medical cannabis licenses available from six to 15. The passage of House Bill 196, which received 170 votes in favor and only two opposed, would increase the current license number to 15. Six licenses were issued in 2019, including two Class 1 licenses for cultivation up to 100,000 sq. feet and four Class 2 licenses for cultivation up to 50,000 sq. feet. This includes two Class 1 licenses owners Botanical Sciences LLC and Trulieve Georgia, and four Class 2 licenses that were delayed due to numerous lawsuits, which caused the suspension of all chosen applicants.Initially, the Class 2 licenses were awarded to FFD GA Holdings, TheraTrue Georgia LLC, Natures GA LLC, and Treevana Remedy Inc. in July 2021. Applicants who were not selected for the license were able to file protests. Kristen Goodman, the lawyer representing the four applicants who didn’t win a license, stated that the process was a “train wreck” and that two of the licenses that were confirmed went to out-of state companies. “They are not serving children with excessive seizures in Northwest Georgia.” Goodman stated that they are not serving children with cancer in Southwest Georgia. “They have all they need right here, in the central part the state.” In an attempt to rectify the situation, the House introduced House Bill 1425 in February 2022. This would have completely re-started the license process from scratch. The Senate proposed a replacement to HB-1425. It would have asked the Georgia Access to Medical Cannabis Commission to issue licenses to six applicants. However, it would not be the same six applicants who were originally selected. The House bill was ultimately defeated and the Senate version was advanced. However, it died at the end 2022. On March 6, Alan Powell spoke to legislators about the necessity for HB-196 to address the ongoing issue. Powell said, “Let’s fix it.” Let’s move it forward. To keep up with the demand, every 5,000 patient would be eligible for a Class 2 license. Every 10,000 patients would be eligible for a Class 1 license. There are nearly 25,000 medical cannabis patients registered on the state registry as of February. HB-196 now moves to the Senate for consideration. Trulieve Georgia and Botanical Sciences LLC owners are continuing to grow their respective businesses. Gary Long, Botanical Sciences CEO, spoke to Georgia Public Broadcasting regarding his progress. Long stated that the production process has already begun. This involves the seeding of cannabis plants inside our indoor growing facility. The capsules and topicals will be made to address the needs for patients in Georgia. “The opening our facility was a significant milestone for our company, the city of Glennville and for the many thousands who are waiting to access this vital form of medicine,” Trulieve released a press release on December 6, 2022. Kim Rivers, CEO of Trulieve, stated that Trulieve was thrilled to have been granted a Georgia cannabis production licence. She also expressed gratitude for the diligence of the Commission during the selection process. “We look forward educating the Georgia market about the many health and wellness benefits that cannabis has, as well providing patients with statewide access for the medical cannabis they are seeking.”


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