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Georgia House Passes Legislation to Correct Medical Cannabis Licensing

State Representative Alan Powell (R-Hartwell), chairman of the House Regulated Industries Committee, announced that the Georgia House of Representatives recently passed House Bill 196, legislation which seeks to correct the licensing process for medical cannabis production.

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“It’s been seven years since Georgia first paved the way for patients suffering from chronic diseases to legally obtain this vital medicine, but we’ve basically made zero progress in actually getting Georgia-made medical cannabis to patients,” said Chairman Powell. “This legislation seeks to correct some major flaws in our transparency requirements for the Georgia Access to Medical Cannabis Commission, and this bill would also level the playing field for medical cannabis producers by increasing the overall number of licenses across the state.”

House Bill 196 would increase accountability for the Georgia Access to Medical Cannabis Commission, which oversees the regulated licensing of in-state cultivation, production, manufacturing and sale of low-THC oil. Under HB 196, the commission would be subject to Georgia’s Administrative Procedures Act, state purchasing laws, open and public records requests, as well as inspection of public records.

Additionally, the commission could issue up to four additional Class 1 production licenses and seven additional Class 2 production licenses. Applicants for the previous round of licenses that have filed post-award protests and appealed the administrative decisions would be awarded licenses if this legislation becomes law.

To ensure Georgians have a place to obtain these products, the commission would have the ability to issue an additional dispensing license to registered patients at the premises of each Class 1 or Class 2 production facility. Dispensaries would be permitted to sell low THC oil and products from any production licensee in the state.

This bill would also account for future growth of patients participating in the Low THC Oil Registry. The commission would be able to issue one additional Class 2 production license for every increase of 5,000 registered patients and one additional Class 1 production license for every increase of 10,000 registered patients. HB 196 would also add ulcerative colitis and myasthenia gravis to the list of conditions eligible for low THC oil in Georgia.

The Georgia State-wide Business Court would have exclusive jurisdiction over any appeals of final decisions by the commission regarding the issuance of new licenses. Each commission member would be required to file an annual financial disclosure statement for the previous calendar year.

House Bill 196 will now be considered by the Senate.

For more information on HB 196, please click here.

Representative Alan Powell represents the citizens of District 33, which includes Franklin and Hart counties and portions of Madison County. He was elected to the House of Representatives in 1990 and currently serves as Chairman of the Regulated Industries Committee. He also serves on the Appropriations Subcommittee on Public Safety and the Governmental Affairs, Interstate Cooperation, Motor Vehicles, Public Safety and Homeland Security, Rules, Small Business Development and Technology and Infrastructure committees.

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