Georgia bill rejected that would have expanded medical cannabis program

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Georgia lawmakers voted down a medical cannabis bill that would have created more MMJ business opportunities in the state and regulated delta-8 THC products.

If House Bill 196 had passed on Tuesday night, it would have given the Georgia Department of Agriculture “the power to approve as many as 20 companies (for) a chance to grow and sell medical marijuana,” Atlanta TV station WAGA reported.

So far, the state has licensed only two companies to grow, manufacture and sell low-THC marijuana oil for medical purposes for an MMJ program that could launch this year.

HB 196, which became contentious legislation, failed just before the end of the lawmakers’ session, WAGA noted.

According to political news outlet Capitol Beat, “the final straw that irked senators as well as some House members was the 39-page medical cannabis bill had an additional 15 pages tacked onto the end concerning hemp products, which had not gone through the normal vetting in committee.”

That final version of the legislation also included language related to delta-8 THC products.

An earlier version of HB 196 would have made the state’s marijuana regulator – the Georgia Access to Medical Cannabis Commission (GMCC) – “subject to the state open records act,” among other changes, WAGA reported previously.

The legislation “also sought to address the rash of lawsuits filed by nine companies that lost bids for licenses that are holding up the licensing process” through mediation that could have led to licenses for those companies, Capitol Beat reported.

The bill was changed at the last minute to abolish the GMCC and transfer its responsibilities to the Georgia agriculture department, alongside the hemp regulation changes.