Dozens of companies apply for six Georgia medical marijuana licenses

After battling for years to help treat his daughter, Sydney, who suffers from intractable seizures and uses cannabis oil as a treatment, J-Bo Wages finally holds his State of Georgia low THC oil registration card on Tuesday, August 11, 2015, in Dallas. The Wages were among the very first to receive permission from the state to use low-dose cannabis oil without fear of prosecution. Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com
After battling for years to help treat his daughter, Sydney, who suffers from intractable seizures and uses cannabis oil as a treatment, J-Bo Wages finally holds his State of Georgia low THC oil registration card on Tuesday, August 11, 2015, in Dallas. The Wages were among the very first to receive permission from the state to use low-dose cannabis oil without fear of prosecution. Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com

From nearly 70 applicants, six companies will be chosen to begin manufacturing medical marijuana oil for Georgia patients.

The Georgia Access to Medical Cannabis Commission announced this month that it will review the proposals and then award licenses, possibly in late spring or early summer.

The winning companies will then have one year to begin operations, according to state law, providing medicine for 14,000 registered patients for conditions including seizures, terminal cancers and Parkinson’s disease. Though they’re allowed to consume the medicine, there’s no legal way to buy it until the companies come online.

“The goal is to ensure that patients have access to the highest-quality medicine that we can arrive at in our state with these production facilities,” said Andrew Turnage, the commission’s executive director. “I’m very impressed with the quality and caliber of applicants.”

Licenses will be awarded based on criteria set in a state law creating the cannabis oil program in 2019. Companies submitted plans for production, business operations, facilities and seed-to-sale tracking, Turnage said.

ExploreFrom 2020: Georgia medical marijuana commission opens applications for production

Under the law, six companies will be licensed to cultivate medical marijuana, which can have no more than 5% THC, the compound that gives marijuana users a high. They’ll be allowed to grow the drug on a total of 400,000 square feet of indoor growing space statewide.

“The only thing we should be thinking about is how we can get the safest oil and the best medicine to Georgia patients,” said state Rep. Micah Gravley, a Republican from Douglasville who sponsored legislation starting the program. “The licensees should be the six companies who are capable of creating a lab-tested, trusted, safe oil, and have a tested and proven product in other states.”

Lawmakers limited the number of licenses as part of a compromise between House and Senate leaders who had struggled to strike a balance between providing access to legitimate patients while preventing illegal marijuana distribution.

Information about the applicants is confidential, according to the Georgia Access to Medical Cannabis Commission.

Medical marijuana

The Georgia Access to Medical Cannabis Commission will award licenses to six companies to manufacture a cannabis oil for treating 14,000 registered patients for conditions including seizures, terminal cancers and Parkinson’s disease.

The announcement could come as soon as this spring or early summer.

By law, the medical marijuana can have no more than 5% THC, the compound that gives marijuana users a high.

ExploreFrom 2019: Georgia board launches effort to deliver medical marijuana to patients

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