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Georgia May Soon Legalize the Production and Sale of Medical Marijuana

by Kevin Hanlon March 14, 2019

On March 5, 2019, the Georgia House voted 123-40 in favor of House Bill 324 (Georgia’s Hope Act) to legalize a low-THC medical marijuana program in the state. The bill would provide patients who are already allowed to possess low-THC high-CBD marijuana oil a way to legally access the product by establishing a state-regulated dispensing system of licensed marijuana producers. The bill is now being considered by the state Senate.

shutterstock_260713625Currently, Georgians with one of the 16 specific medical conditions approved for use of medical marijuana are allowed to possess low-THC medical marijuana oil, however, the plant is still illegal to grow, process, buy, sell, or transport in the state. HB 324 would fix this gap in protection, and allow for a safe, legal way for patients to access the products through state-licensed producers and retail access outlets.

The bill would also create the Office of Low THC Oil Control (the Office) within the Department of Public Health. The Office would act as the regulating department to establish the rules and regulations for the program, including a highly competitive licensing and application process for marijuana business licenses. Additionally, the Office would house the Low THC Oil License Oversight Board, which would be the governing body tasked with reviewing and approving applications pursuant to the Office’s requirements and procedures. 

On March 7, 2019, HB 324 was referred to the Senate Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee, where it will be further reviewed. From there, it may be reviewed by other Senate committees before a final Senate vote on the matter. If the Senate votes in favor of the bill, the bill will go to the desk of Governor Brian Kemp for approval.

 

Georgia Medical Marijuana Business License Opportunities:

 Safe Access Retail Licensea  license to:

  • Operate retail outlets for the sale of low THC oil to registered patients
  • This authority is granted to Class 1 Production Licensees and Class 2 Production Licensees to operate retail outlets for the sale of low THC oil to registered patients.
  • Safe Retail Licensees are authorized to operate up to two safe access retail outlets, Class 1 Production Licensees are authorized to operate up to five safe access retail outlets, Class 2 Production Licensees are authorized to operate up to three safe access retail outlets.
     

Class 1 Production License – a license to:

  • Grow unlimited amounts of cannabis or hemp products only in indoor facilities for use in producing low THC oil
  • Manufacture low THC oil
  • Operate up to five safe access retail outlets state wide for the sale of low THC oil to registered patients
  • Provide home delivery of low THC oil to registered patients state wide through company owned and operated vehicles

Class 2 Production License – a license to:

  • Grow cannabis or hemp products in indoor facilities only, for use in producing low THC oil, and limited to 20,000 square feet of cultivation space
  • Manufacture low THC oil
  • Operate up to three safe access retail outlets for the sale of low THC oil to registered patients
  • Provide home delivery of low THC oil to registered patients through company owned and operated vehicles
     
Application Fees:

Safe Access Retail License: Non-refundable application fee of $10,000
Class 1 Production License: Non-refundable application fee of $50,000
Class 2 Production License: Non-refundable application fee of $12,500

Annual Licensing Fees:

Safe Access Retail License: Initial license fee of $20,000 and an annual license renewal fee of $10,000
Class 1 Production License: Initial license fee of $100,000 and an annual license renewal fee of $50,000
Class 2 Production License: Initial license fee of $25,000 and an annual license renewal fee of $12,500

Number of Licenses Available:

If HB 324 is passed, the state would grant 10 licenses to grow and manufacture the plant – five (5) Class 1 production licenses and five (5) Class 2 production licenses – as well as ten (10) additional Safe Access Retail Licenses.

 

Georgia Medical Marijuana Program Timeline

No later than December 1, 2019: The Department shall approve one or more vendors to provide or operate tracking systems.

No later than January 1, 2020: The Department shall issue five (5) Class 1 production licenses, five (5) Class 2 production licenses, and ten (10) Safe Access Retail Licenses.

 

Begin Preparing for Georgia Marijuana Business License Application

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  • An Informational Overview of Georgia’s marijuana laws
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