The State Medical Marijuana Commission announced earlier this month that nearly 70 companies have applied for licenses to manufacture low-THC cannabis oil for medicinal use in Georgia. However, patients will have to wait a long time for medication.
The Georgia Access to Medical Cannabis Commission initiated the license application process last November. The commission is tasked with building the infrastructure needed to provide medical cannabis to the state’s registered patients.
But Rep. Micah Gravley, R-Douglasville, the Georgia legislature who was instrumental in passing medical cannabis supply laws, says the process of providing medication to patients has been “far too long” Has.
The Commission plans to announce the award of the contract at the end of the review process, probably in late spring or early summer. Companies can then begin building facilities and manufacturing. This process can take another six to eight months before patients do not have access to medication.
The number of registered patients waiting to receive the oil rose when the committee began looking for licensees in 2019. However, that number declined as the bureaucratic process seemed to slow down to a creep.
Gravley, who was contacted by phone, said he was currently working on a cleaning bill to be filed within the next week to streamline the remaining process required to get THC oil into patients’ hands and around ensure that the nature of the delays changes have happened in the past two years.
Gravley, who also supported the original legislation that allowed medical THC in Georgia, said he spoke to people who said their doctor would not register them to get the oil that was not yet available. And while reports have varied on the number of patients enrolled, it hasn’t increased much since 2019.
“Here’s the thing. It’s been two years since this thing passed. There are a lot of frustrated patients, a lot of people in the state who say,” Why should I be on the registry when there is no oil in the state of Georgia that I can legally buy? ”Gravley said.
Companies are looking for Class 1 or Class 2 licenses, under the laws passed by the General Assembly in 2019, Class 1 licenses allow recipients to grow marijuana indoors up to 100,000 square feet.
Class 2 licenses allow recipients to grow an indoor crop up to 50,000 square feet.
This will add more than a year to a process that will approach a decade in total, Gravley said.
“It’s been three years since the original Georgia oil availability bill was passed. I think that’s a failure, “Gravley said, adding,” … we worked for five years to get the law. It shouldn’t have taken three years for patients in this condition to have access to oil. “
The Georgia Access to Medical Cannabis Commission was founded in 2019 when Governor Brian Kemp signed the Georgia Hope Act, which allowed the distribution of medical THC to registered patients and caregivers for purchase from licensed pharmacies.
The members of the commission were appointed by Governor Kemp, Governor Geoff Duncan, and House Speaker David Ralston, and include health professionals, professors, business owners and law enforcement.
The job of the seven members is to review and approve applications from companies to grow and sell medical marijuana in Georgia. The Commission has the power to authorize up to six private producers to grow medicinal cannabis.
By the end of 2019, Georgia had registered approximately 14,000 medical marijuana patients who have since been waiting for the culmination of this process.
The list of diseases that qualify patients for cannabis oil under the legislation includes cancer, seizure disorders, multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, mitochondria, and sickle cell anemia.
Gravley said District 67, from statewide statistics for those with one or more treatable conditions under the law, could have hundreds, if not thousands, who could suffer from an eligibility list condition.
The Commission recently announced that it would focus on attracting applications from companies belonging to minorities, women and / or veterans.
“Today is a great day for patients in need of access to low-THC oil and economic development for minority, female and veteran businesses,” said Andrew Turnage, executive director of the commission.
But Gravley said he doesn’t care who the approved licensees are as long as they meet the set criteria and can continue to deliver the oil.
“I think we all need to think in an accelerated mindset about how to choose the best licensees for the state of Georgia. The top priority and most important aspect, however, is to ensure that the licensees selected are reputable companies that have made this oil in another state in the past and have a solid medical-based drug that is safe for our Georgia patients and will be easily accessible and operational within 12 months from the date the license was issued, ”Gravely said.
Gravley has said all along that he would like the infrastructure to be put in place as soon as possible to bring drugs to patients who need them.
“I am available for help or advice. I am available in any way or in any way to expedite this process as quickly as possible. I’m happy to help, ”Gravley said.
Once the manufacturing licenses are granted, the commission will develop rules and regulations for licensing pharmacies that distribute the low-THC oil to patients.
Patients and other members of the public could follow the progress of the program and sign up for notifications by visiting the Commission’s website at www.gmcc.ga.gov.