Photo: Anne Keiley (FreeYourSpine.com)

Governor Brian Kemp, Lieutenant Governor Geoff Duncan, and House Speaker David Ralston have finally announced their respective appointments to the Georgia Access to Medical Cannabis Commission as authorized by House Bill 324, which was approved earlier this year.

The commission has seven total members with three appointed by the Governor, two appointed by the Lieutenant Governor, and two appointed by the House Speaker. The members serve four-year terms, and the Governor selects the commission chair. The commission is administratively attached to the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office.

Governor Kemp’s Appointees

  • Danielle Benson, Small Business Owner
  • Christopher Edwards, M.D., Principal Surgeon, Atlanta Neurological & Spine Institute
  • Jason Hockenberry, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Health Policy, Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health

“Georgia’s Hope Act provides a critical pathway for Georgians with chronic, debilitating diseases to get the help that they desperately need,” said Governor Kemp. “I am confident that Dr. Edwards, Dr. Hockenberry, and Mrs. Benson will serve with the highest levels of integrity in faithfully carrying out the mission of the Georgia Access to Medical Cannabis Commission.”

Governor Kemp has selected Dr. Edwards to serve as commission chair.

Lieutenant Governor Duncan’s Appointees

  • William Bornstein, M.D., Ph.D., Chief Medical Officer and Chief Quality & Patient Safety Officer, Emory Healthcare
  • Judith Rochon, M.D., Kaiser Permanente

“After a thoughtful and deliberate selection process, I am pleased to announce my two appointments to this important commission,” Lt. Governor Duncan said. “This group of citizens is now positioned to carry out the intent of this legislation by creating and executing the initial framework of this important process. A process that will ultimately deliver medicinal value to those who have been narrowly defined in the legislation and have been eagerly awaiting relief.”

Speaker Ralston’s Appointees

  • William “Bill” Prather, President, Georgia Board of Pharmacy
  • Bob Starrett, City of Austell Chief of Police

“From the beginning, we have been motivated by the desire to help Georgians suffering from chronic and painful conditions,” said Speaker David Ralston. “We have acted deliberately to implement a well-regulated and tightly-controlled medical cannabis system that is safe and secure. I know both Mr. Prather’s and Chief Starrett’s professional expertise will be invaluable as this work moves forward. I want to again thank all those public officials involved in making today’s announcement possible, particularly State Representative Micah Gravley, who has worked for years to get us to this moment.”

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Jessica Szilagyi
Jessica Szilagyi is a Statewide Contributor for AllOnGeorgia.com. She focuses primarily on state and local politics as well as agricultural news. She has a background in Political Science, with a focus in local government, and has a Master of Public Administration from the University of Georgia. She's a "Like It Or Not" contributor for Fox5 in Atlanta and has two blogs of her own: The Perspicacious Conservative and "Hair Blowers to Lawn Mowers."

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