HISTORY and PURPOSE OF THE COMMISSION
HISTORY OF THE COMMISSION
On April 2, 2019, the Georgia General Assembly passed House Bill 324 titled "Georgia's Hope Act," which authorizes the Georgia Access to Medical Cannabis Commission to oversee the regulated licensing of limited, in-state cultivation, production, manufacturing, and sale of low-THC oil as well as dispensing to registered patients on the state's Low-THC Oil Registry. Governor Brian P. Kemp signed the bill into law on April 17, 2019. Georgia's Hope Act (Official Code of Georgia Annotated §16-12) took effect July 1, 2019. The Commission is administratively attached for budget, procurement, and human resources support (O.C. G. A. § 16-12-202, § 50-4-3) to the Office of the Georgia Secretary of State.
The first Commission Members were appointed in November, 2019. Seven Members serve on the Commission: the Chair and two Members are appointed by the Governor, two Members are appointed by the Lieutenant Governor, and two Members appointed by the Speaker of the House. The Commission was first appropriated funds as a new State of Georgia government agency in the amount of $200,000 by the Georgia General Assembly in 2019. The Commission selected from four candidates vetted by The Goodwin Group, a national search firm, and appointed an Executive Director in May, 2020.
PURPOSE OF THE COMMISSION
Purpose of the Georgia's Hope Act
an excerpt from House Bill 324 (2019)
The General Assembly finds that the establishment of the Low THC Oil Patient Registry in 2015 allows Georgia patients to possess low THC oil but provides no way to access low THC oil. The General Assembly finds that thousands of Georgians have serious medical conditions that can be improved by the medically approved use of cannabis and that the law should not stand between them and treatment necessary for life and health. The General Assembly finds that the purpose of this Act is to allow the legitimate use of medical cannabis for health care, including palliative care. The General Assembly finds that this Act does not in any way diminish this state's strong public policy and laws against illegal drug use, nor should it be deemed in any manner to advocate, authorize, promote, or legally or socially accept the use of marijuana for children or adults for any non-medical use.
The General Assembly further finds that:
(1) Low THC oil can offer significant medical benefits to patients;
(2) Low THC oil can only be derived from the cannabis plant;
(3) A carefully constructed system of in-state cultivation to benefit only those patients authorized by Georgia law and approved by their physician would benefit patients within the State of Georgia;
(4) The State of Georgia is deeply opposed to any recreational or nonmedical use of marijuana, and any system to help patients access low THC oil should be as limited in scope as possible;
(5) Business opportunities resulting from a system of in-state cultivation should be inclusive of minority, women, and veteran owned businesses;
(6) Businesses resulting from this Act should include at least 20 percent participation by minority, women, and veteran owned businesses as licensees, suppliers, and partners of businesses licensed under this Act; and
(7) The State of Georgia should encourage active participation by minority, women, and veteran owned businesses, as well as take any steps necessary to ensure there is no discrimination in the issuance of licenses or participation in business activities resulting from this Act.