Georgia Cannabis Business Licenses
WHAT IS GEORGIA’S CURRENT CANNABIS MARKET STATUS?
Cannabis consumption and possession is still illegal in Georgia, although the state has recently opened up the opportunity for commercial cultivation, manufacturing, and dispensary licenses under Georgia’s Hope Act. As of now, CBD is an offering to Georgia residents, and low-THC oil for those legally qualified to possess it, with legislation moving quickly towards an established medical marijuana program. Stay tuned for more information about cultivation, manufacturing, and dispensary license applications in the Georgia medical marijuana market.
WHAT ARE GEORGIA’S CANNABIS LAWS?
Georgia House Bill 324 Summary
The new cannabis law in Georgia keeps the THC cap at 5% but allows for six growing licenses to be granted to private companies through a competitive application process – two for larger organizations and four for smaller businesses. Two of the private companies will be able to grow cannabis on up to 100,000 square feet of space, and the other four will have up to 50,000 square feet- totaling roughing 9 acres. The law allows the two State universities, the University of Georgia and Fort Valley University, to cultivate medical marijuana and produce medical cannabis as well.
Residency Requirement: None
The law also recommends that these businesses include at least 20 percent participation by minorities, women, and veterans—but does not require it.
Pharmacies will be allowed to sell low-THC oil if they’re licensed by the State Board of Pharmacy. This includes CVS, Walgreens, etc.
Private dispensaries and production facilities will be approved by the Georgia Access to Medical Cannabis Commission.
WHAT IS GEORGIA’S CANNABIS LICENSING TIMELINE & CANNABIS APPLICATION PROCESS?
The seven-member Georgia Access to Medical Cannabis Commission was appointed to implement the law and Georgia’s medical cannabis license application. This group, set to meet monthly, last met in February due to pandemic-related social distancing requirements. The commission is set to hire an Executive Director and promulgate regulations, and will then create a system for getting business applications accepted, reviewed, scored, and awarded. Based on this anticipated order of events and the current timeline, sales are expected to begin sometime after mid-2021. However, the bill does say that the commission could purchase low-THC oil from other states and distribute that to pharmacies if it is decided upon by the Commission.
The law does not go into program logistics, which are to be determined later by the Georgia Access to Medical Cannabis Commission. This seven-member board, appointed by the governor, lieutenant governor, and the speaker of the house, will establish the official program logistics. This commission will grant licenses to distribution companies, private dispensaries and the six production companies, in addition to establishing cultivation and distribution standards for low-THC oil.
Class 1 Production Licenses:
Availability: two (2) being issued.
Would be authorized to: grow cannabis only in indoor facilities, limited to 100,000 square feet of cultivation space and manufacture low THC oil.
Capitalization requirements: must show written documentation showing on the date of application that the applicant holds at least $2 million in available cash reserves to invest in operations.
Must also include documentation to prove that a $1.5 million cash bond payable to the State of Georgia or an irrevocable letter of credit can be obtained within 30 days of license award.
Application fee: $25,000, non-refundable
Initial license fee: $200,000
Renewal fee: $100,000
Class 2 Production Licenses:
Availability: four (4) being issued.
Would be authorized to: grow cannabis only in indoor facilities, limited to 50,000 square feet of cultivation space and manufacture low-THC oil.
Capitalization requirements: must show written documentation showing on the date of application that the applicant holds at least $1.25 million in available cash reserves to invest in operations.
Must also include documentation to prove that a $625,000 cash bond payable to the State of Georgia or an irrevocable letter of credit can be obtained within 30 days of licensure award.
Application fee: $5,000, non-refundable
Annual renewal fee: $50,000
WHAT IS THE HISTORY OF CANNABIS IN GEORGIA?
On April 17, 2019, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed HB 324 - Georgia’s Hope Act - opening the state to commercial medical cannabis cultivation, distribution, and retail business opportunities in the Peach State. Georgia launched its limited MMJ program in 2015, though the cultivation, manufacture or sale of THC products was not originally permitted under the program and was deemed a failure, and quickly realized the shortcomings of the legislation. The new legislation includes expanded qualifying medical conditions, a regulated supply chain, and access to lab-tested products.
As of January 2020, Georgia has more than 20,000 registered medical marijuana patients.
DOES GEORGIA HAVE A HEMP PROGRAM?
ARE YOU PREPARING FOR THE GEORGIA CANNABIS MARKET?
It is never too early to start developing your cannabis business plan. Point7 is pleased to offer products and service packages to operators at all stages of the cannabis business life cycle—whether you are just getting started, or a seasoned operator thinking about expansion.