February 4, 2023 11:26 am

Local News

Two More Companies Allowed To Grow Medical Cannabis in Georgia

Credit: iStock

Parker Wallis

The Georgia Commission for Access to Medical Cannabis recently granted two corporations (Trulieve and Botanical Sciences) the licenses to grow cannabis products in the state.

“I can tell you Botanical Sciences could drop seed tomorrow literally and have oil in 110 days,” said state Rep. Bill Werkheiser, who attended the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new facility.

The other corporation, Trulieve, currently has 124 facilities in Florida, and they are excited to expand their work into the Peach State and provide products to Georgia residents, hoping to open 10 facilities by July 2023. 

“We made a commitment to the patients of Georgia,” said Trulieve CEO Kim Rivers. “You know, there’s over 25,000 patients that are already registered in the state of Georgia who’ve been waiting years to get the product. So when we came in, as soon as we got that award, we immediately began work.”

The journey to normalize the medical cannabis industry in the state has been a long one. Georgia became the 26th jurisdiction in the states to legalize medical cannabis as recently as 2015 thanks to the Haliegh’s Hope Act, and in April 2019, Gov. Brian Kemp signed Georgia’s Hope Act (or HB 324) into law, permitting up to six private growers and two designated universities to cultivate medical cannabis preparations. 

“Let’s go back several years, you know. Your law enforcement, with all due respect, have always been taught let’s combat drug use. Well, we had to be re-educated to agree that this is a medical need,” remarked Mayor of Adel Buddy Duke. 

The road to this milestone was not all smooth sailing. According to Rivers, securing the company’s Georgia Cannabis Production License was one of their top priorities going into 2021. The process, however, was stalled for two years due to protests, lawsuits, controversy, and investigations. 

The Georgia Court of Appeals also gave the go-ahead for losing bidders to challenge those selected to grow medical cannabis, leading to 5 companies challenging the licensing process, represented by Attorneys Jake Evans and Kristen Goodman. 

Nevertheless, now having been properly granted the license to operate in Georgia, Trulieve is ready to rev up operations and contribute positively to Georgia’s economy. “We will absolutely and are committed to investing and creating not just, and this is important, not just jobs. But good jobs. Well-paying competitive jobs, in a burgeoning new industry,” said Rivers. 

The president of Trulieve Georgia shares the same sentiment. “I do think bringing this production facility to Georgia is a step in the right direction,” said President Lisa Pinkney. “So I think the Trulieve Adel Production Facility will bring several jobs to the area and will have a significant impact on the overall economic development.” 

With tens of thousands of Georgians waiting for treatment, Botanical Sciences and Trulieve’s operations are underway, cultivating fresh products that will provide relief and comfort to patients who need it.

Savannah Area Unemployment Drops in December

Locally, according to a newly released Bureau of Labor Statistics report released on February 1, the Savannah metropolitan area unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) dropped from 2.6 percent in November to 2.5 percent in December.