The Georgia House of Representatives on Tuesday passed a bill to increase the number of medical cannabis production licenses in the state from six to 15, the Albany Herald reports. The measure is meant to resolve lawsuits against the state by companies that lost bids to obtain cannabis production licenses.
In all, nine companies had sued the state after being denied licenses. If approved by the Senate, the bill would allow those nine companies to reapply for a production license.
Georgia legalized low-THC cannabis possession for medical purposes in 2015 but didn’t approve a bill to allow in-state production until 2019. The 2019 law created a state commission to oversee the program by issuing six licenses to winning bidders. The law created two Class 1 licenses, which allow cannabis to be grown in spaces up to 100,000 square feet, and four Class 2 licenses which allow for cultivation spaces of up to 50,000 square feet. The two Class 1 licenses have been awarded but the remaining licenses have been in limbo after the rejected companies sued the state.
The measure approved Tuesday, sponsored by Republican Rep. Alan Powell, calls for putting the commission that oversees the medical cannabis program under contracting rules set by the Georgia Department of Administrative Services. Appeals would be referred to Georgia’s Statewide Business Court.
The measure would also increase dispensary counts as the number of medical cannabis patients increases, creating an additional Class 2 license for every 5,000 new patients and a Class 1 license for every 10,000 new patients, the report says.
The measure moves next to the state Senate.
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