Georgia lawmakers fail to pass bill implementing medical cannabis industry

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Georgia legislators failed to agree on a bill to legalize production and sale of medical cannabis products, even though low-THC, marijuana-based oil has been permitted for registered patients since 2015.

According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the state Senate tabled House Bill 1425 on a 28-27 vote just before the 2022 legislative session adjourned for the year.

The upshot is the entire Georgia medical marijuana industry – and the state’s 22,000 registered patients – will have to wait until 2023 to participate in a legal avenue MMJ program.

For seven years, lawmakers have failed to reach a deal that would allow private companies to legally grow marijuana plants and produce oil, leaving MMJ patients in limbo and businesses waiting for the green light to begin cultivation.

The Georgia Access to Medical Cannabis Commission gave tentative approval last summer to six licensees to grow MMJ, and the bill that failed this week would have finalized those permits by June 7 and added another three cultivation licenses by next year.

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Senate Minority Leader Gloria Butler, a Democrat from suburban Atlanta, said she opposed the measure because it would have allowed the licensing process to move forward while there were still outstanding questions from losing bidders who had threatened to sue the state.

At least one such lawsuit has been filed by Georgia Atlas.