Medical Marijuana in Georgia
On April 17, 2019, Georgia’s Hope Act—HB 324—was signed into law by Governor Brian Kemp, which would allow medical marijuana patients to access low-THC cannabis oils (up to 5% THC) in Georgia. In late 2020, the Georgia Access to Medical Cannabis Commission began accepting applications for the coveted Class 1 and Class 2 production licenses. Pursuant to HB 324, the state is only approving six (6) applicants to be able to cultivate and produce medical marijuana preparations. By 2021, Governor Kemp signed SB 195 into law to allow six (6) producers to each be able to operate five (5) dispensaries until registered patient populations increase, which created Georgia’s cannabis industry to be “vertically integrated.”
Unfortunately, Georgia’s cannabis policies are not reflective of the communities that make up such an amazing state. Two thirds of Georgians believe cannabis possession should be legal; however, Georgia remains one of nineteen (19) states that imposes jail time for simple possession of cannabis, as well as one of thirteen (13) states that does not have comprehensive medical cannabis law due to its limitations.
During the 2023 legislative session, fourteen (14) bills were introduced regarding various aspects of marijuana use in the “Peach State.” Although there was a strong focus on the decriminalization of marijuana through proposed HB 388, HB 551, and SB 30, three (3) proposed bills focused on the expansion of the medical marijuana industry in Georgia. HB 337 proposes to remove the 5% THC limit, whereas SB 270 proposes the Commission license additional Class 1 and Class 2 production licenses, bringing the total number of licensees up to thirteen (13). Although these bills had no traction during the 2023 session, Georgia’s two (2)-year legislative session may provide Georgians a way to see these passed in 2024. Further, HB 196 intended to expanded the program by allowing an additional twenty (20) licensees to grow and manufacture medical marijuana; however, the bill was rejected due to its last minute changes such as adding fifteen (15) additional pages regarding hemp products, as well as abolishing the Commission and transferring authority to the Georgia Department of Agriculture.
Cancer, when such diagnosis is end stage or the treatment produces related wasting illness or recalcitrant nausea and vomiting; Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; Seizure disorders related to diagnosis of epilepsy or trauma related head injuries; Multiple sclerosis; Crohn’s disease; Mitochondrial disease; Parkinson’s disease, when such diagnosis is severe or end stage; Sickle cell disease; Tourette’s syndrome; Autism spectrum disorder, when (a) patient is eighteen (18) years of age or more, or (b) patient is less than eighteen (18) years of age and diagnosed with severe autism; Epidermolysis bullosa; Alzheimer’s disease; AIDS; Peripheral neuropathy; Patient is in hospice program, either as inpatient or outpatient; Intractable pain; Post-traumatic stress disorder resulting from direct exposure to or witnessing of a trauma for a patient who is at least eighteen (18) years of age.
Unlike several other states, several of the above diagnoses only allow the patient to register with Georgia’s Medical Marijuana Program if his or her symptoms are severe or at the end stage.
Applications for Medical Marijuana Business Licenses
Currently, Class 1 and Class 2 licenses for cultivation and production of medical marijuana closed on January 27, 2021. For your review, below are the fees applicable to the production licenses, as well as some of the requirements for the application in anticipation of the Commission opening dispensing licenses:
Class 1 Production License Fees
- $25,000 – Application Fee
- $200,000 – License Fee
- $100,000 – Annual Renewal Fee
Class 2 Production License Fees
- $5,000 – Application Fee
- $100,000 – License Fee
- $50,000 – Annual Renewal Fee
An eligible applicant had to be a Georgia entity or corporation that will maintain a bank account with a bank or credit union in the state. Further, applicants had to demonstrate sufficient capital, provide a detailed production plan and comprehensive security plan, and submission of their owners, officers, and employees’ fingerprints. From acquiring letters of support from local governments where their primary address would be located to demonstrating significant involvement with one (1) or more minority business enterprises, the above are just a few of the many regulatory requirements interested applicants had to satisfy to be eligible to apply for a coveted license.
Now is the time to build a strong support team to help guide you through this challenging, yet rewarding process. Whether you are preparing to enter the business of medical marijuana, our team will be with you every step of the way. Schedule an appointment with one of our experts today!
Last Updated: July 19th, 2023