Georgia hires first medical cannabis director, but program timing still unclear

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A director has been hired to oversee the licensing and launch of Georgia’s limited medical marijuana program, but the market’s rollout remains uncertain.

The Georgia Access to Medical Cannabis Commission appointed Andrew Turnage as the program’s first executive director, according to The Atlanta Journal Constitution.

Turnage has licensing experience as the former executive director of the Georgia State Board of Cosmetology and Barbers, according to media reports.

He also has a law enforcement background, once serving as a county deputy sheriff.

Turnage said in a statement that his goal is to ensure families in Georgia finally get low-THC oil. But he didn’t disclose a timetable for licensing or a sales launch.

A Georgia health department spokeswoman referred questions to the medical marijuana board, which couldn’t be reached for comment Friday.

The development of Georgia’s program has been slow.

Georgia lawmakers approved a limited medical marijuana program in 2019, and a commission was formed last November to develop rules.

But it’s taken another six months to hire an executive director.

Only six medical marijuana producer/processor licenses are available in Georgia, and pharmacies rather than independent dispensaries are expected to sell the products.

THC potency is capped at 5%, under Georgia law, and flower, edibles and vaping are banned.