Georgia lifts ban on commercial medical marijuana production

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Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp has opened the state to commercial medical cannabis cultivation, signing a bill to create new business opportunities in the Peach State’s limited MMJ program.

The measure outlines the first opportunities for private businesses to grow and sell cannabis.

Georgia launched its limited MMJ program in 2015, though the cultivation, manufacture or sale of THC products was not permitted.

The new law keeps Georgia’s THC cap at 5% but allows for six growing licenses to be granted to private companies – two for larger organizations and four for smaller businesses.

The bill also:

  • Requires the plant to be grown inside.
  • Bans smoked or vaped medical marijuana.
  • Sets production licenses at $200,000 for Class 1 cultivators, which would be limited to 100,000 square feet of cultivation, and $100,000 for Class 2 cultivators, which would be limited to 50,000 square feet of cultivation.
  • Bars the Georgia Department of Agriculture from regulating marijuana cultivation.
  • Allows public universities to obtain cannabis for research purposes from “any available legal source,” not just the designated U.S. research farm at the University of Mississippi.
  • Bans physicians from owning medical marijuana cultivators or distributors.
  • Requires medical cannabis cultivators to show “significant involvement in the business by one or more minority business enterprises.”
  • Bans advertising or marketing MMJ to the public or to the state’s existing medical marijuana patients.

Georgia currently has about 9,500 medical marijuana patients.

– Associated Press