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Georgia Is Creating a Medical Marijuana Commission

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Georgia’s Hope Act takes effect on July 1 but there are several steps to complete before seeds meet soil in the state. The Georgia Access to Medical Cannabis Commission has to be formed first. This commission will oversee the medical marijuana program and ensure it’s properly implemented.

The commission will help determine who the cultivators will be and how to license each different type of medical marijuana business, according to the Ledger-Inquirer. Seven members will be appointed to the commission. Each appointed member will serve on the commission for 4 years.

While a position on the commission is an unpaid one, there are still some monetary benefits. Each member will be allowed to seek reimbursement for their duties when the commission is meeting. They’ll also have expense allowances. Even without the position being a “paid” one, several advocates around the state have already indicated that they’d like to be on this special panel.

Former representative and advocate for medical marijuana in Georgia Allen Peake said, “The law gives tremendous and broad powers to the commission. It is imperative that we appoint the commission soon so they can hit the ground running.”

Medical marijuana production will have 3 options:

  • 6 licensed cultivators and processors
  • For Valley State and University of Georgia will cultivate and produce medical marijuana products – these license can be separate or a joint effort. Private companies will make the oil from the cultivated medical marijuana.
  • Bringing medicine from out of state – which has its hurdles due to the transport of THC across state lines remaining illegal

The commission is responsible for:

  • Issue licenses
  • Choose growers
  • Determine inspection procedures for cultivation facilities
  • Determine procedures for testing
  • Determine licensing procedures
  • 2 large and 4 small cultivation/production facilities will be named
  • Maintain production and cultivation records
  • Determining how and where the manufactured oil will be distributed to qualifying patients

If pharmacies want to distribute medical marijuana oil to patients, they have to be licensed through the Georgia Board of Pharmacy. It’s unknown if pharmacies will participate due to federal restrictions and the federal government not recognizing marijuana as medicine. The legislation does provide protection provisions for pharmacies though.

There are a lot of steps to take before medicine is available in Georgia. It could be a year or two, but that is the typical amount of time it takes to get things up and running in a new medical marijuana market.