Georgia’s legislature has sent a bill to Gov. Mike Kemp (R) that would license medical cannabis manufacturers and allow dispensaries to sell “low THC” oil (defined as oil containing less than five percent THC) — in Georgia, according to the Capitol Beat News Service.
Currently, the oil is legal in the state — in fact, the state has 19,000 registered medical cannabis patients — but there is no way to legally purchase the product. According to the report, if Governor Mike Kemp signs SB 195, Georgia will award six of 70 applicants licenses to manufacture the oil. Each licensee will be allowed five dispensary locations and will have 12 months to produce medical cannabis for patients. Additionally, the measure will give local governments more control over where cannabis businesses can be located. Currently, state law requires cannabis businesses to be at least 3,000 feet away from schools, churches, and activity centers.
“We are cautiously optimistic that this could be a very good Christmas for THC oil patients in Georgia.” — Turnage, via Capitol Beat News Service
Critics believe that cannabis could serve as a gateway drug and that Georgians who do not really need the medicine will game the system to acquire the oil. But Turnage said there are plenty of guardrails to make sure only those who need medical cannabis will have access to the program. Furthermore, the law requires certain security measures for cannabis manufactures. Turnage also highlighted that the level of THC found in the oil is “marginal … compared to any street drug.”
“Anyone that’s looking to get high, this is probably going to be their last choice on the list,” he said.
Under current state law, the University of Georgia and Fort Valley State University can cultivate cannabis to study its medicinal benefits. However, neither school has applied for a license, the report reveals. The new bill will allow other schools to apply for licenses to study the oil produced by licensed manufacturers.
According to the report, Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, Emory University, and Augusta University have expressed interest in the program. “If the universities decide that they want to pursue their university licenses, we are very excited about the possibilities that exist for university research,” Turnage told the News Service.
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