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Cannabis Consultant Insights

Introduction to Georgia Medical Cannabis 
History of Georgia Cannabis
License Applications
Cannabis Consultants
Timeline of Georgia Cannabis
Types of Cannabis Licenses in Georgia

Introduction to Georgia Cannabis Business and Regulation

The cannabis industry in Georgia is undergoing significant changes, driven by evolving laws and market dynamics. Starting with the Haleigh's Hope Act in 2015, which permitted the limited medical use of low-THC cannabis oil, Georgia has gradually expanded its medical cannabis program. However, the state continues to face delays and legal challenges, particularly around the licensing process for in-state cultivation and distribution. Understanding these dynamics is crucial for entrepreneurs and investors looking to enter Georgia’s cannabis market.


History of Cannabis Regulation in Georgia

Legislative Evolution and Regulatory Milestones


2015 - Haleigh's Hope Act:

  • This law allowed patients with specific medical conditions to possess up to 20 fluid ounces of low-THC oil (with no more than 5% THC) for medical use. However, it did not provide for in-state cultivation or distribution, making it difficult for patients to legally obtain the oil.


2019 - House Bill 324:

  • Also known as the Georgia's Hope Act, this bill expanded the state's medical cannabis framework to allow for in-state cultivation, manufacturing, and distribution of low-THC oil. The law authorized the creation of up to six production licenses and two university research licenses, as well as numerous dispensary licenses. Despite this, the implementation has been slow due to legal disputes over the licensing process.


Timeline of Cannabis Regulation in Georgia

  • 2015: Haleigh's Hope Act allows the use of low-THC oil for medical purposes.

  • 2019: House Bill 324 expands the medical cannabis program to include in-state cultivation and distribution.

  • 2020-2023: Ongoing delays and legal challenges hinder the issuance of production and dispensary licenses.


Cannabis Regulations in Georgia

Georgia’s cannabis laws are strictly limited to medical use. Adult-use or recreational cannabis remains illegal. Here’s a detailed look at the current regulations:


Possession and Purchase Limits

  • Medical Cannabis: Patients can possess up to 20 fluid ounces of low-THC oil (with no more than 5% THC).


Applicable Tax Rates

  • As of now, specific tax rates for medical cannabis products have not been clearly outlined by Georgia’s laws, but general business taxes would apply.


Types of Cannabis Licenses in Georgia

Georgia offers several types of licenses for cannabis businesses, each with specific requirements and permissions:


Class 1 Production License

  • Facility Size: Up to 100,000 sq. ft.

  • Application Fee: $25,000

  • License Fee: $200,000

  • Annual Renewal Fee: $100,000

  • Permitted Activities: Cultivate and manufacture low-THC oil.


Class 2 Production License

  • Facility Size: Up to 50,000 sq. ft.

  • Application Fee: $5,000

  • License Fee: $100,000

  • Annual Renewal Fee: $50,000

  • Permitted Activities: Cultivate and manufacture low-THC oil.


Dispensing License

  • Application Fee: To be determined by the State Board of Pharmacy and the Georgia Access to Medical Cannabis Commission.

  • Permitted Activities: Dispense low-THC oil to registered patients.

  • Number of Licenses: Each producer can hold up to five dispensing licenses.


Designated University License

  • Permitted Activities: Allows designated universities (University of Georgia and Fort Valley State University) to produce, manufacture, and purchase low-THC oil for research purposes.


How to Apply for a Georgia Cannabis License

Securing a cannabis business license in Georgia involves several critical steps:


Pre-Application Preparation

  • Research and Documentation: Gather necessary documents, including proof of capital, ownership profiles, facility information, and local government support.

  • Develop Plans: Create detailed security, production, and employment plans.


Application Submission

  • Forms and Fees: Submit the application form along with the nonrefundable application fee.

  • Supporting Documents: Include all required supporting documents.

  • Competitive Application Process: Applications are reviewed and licenses are awarded based on competitive scoring.


Post-Application Steps

  • Initial License Fee Payment: Pay the initial license fee upon award.

  • Operational Readiness: Ensure the facility is operational within 12 months of the award date.

  • Annual Renewal: Submit the renewal fee annually to maintain the license.


Compliance and Inspections

  • Regular Inspections: Facilities are subject to annual inspections by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the commission.

  • Tracking System: Implement and maintain a seed-to-sale tracking system.

  • Laboratory Testing: Contract with approved laboratories for testing low-THC oil for purity and compliance.


SWOT Analysis of the Georgia Cannabis Market

Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats used to analyze the internal and external factors that can impact the viability and success of a business or project.


  • Definition: Internal factors that give an advantage.

  • Analysis: Georgia's controlled market and strict regulations ensure high-quality products and secure business operations.

    • Strong regulatory framework

    • Limited competition due to strict licensing



  • Definition: Internal factors that pose challenges.

  • Analysis: Delays in licensing and limited market scope hinder growth and accessibility.

    • Legal delays

    • Restricted to low-THC oil



  • Definition: External factors that can be leveraged.

  • Analysis: Growing patient base and potential future regulatory changes could expand the market.

    • Increasing patient demand

    • Potential for regulatory relaxation


  • Definition: External factors that pose risks.

  • Analysis: Ongoing legal disputes and high compliance costs can threaten business stability.

    • Legal challenges

    • High operational costs


Market Projections for Georgia's Cannabis Industry

The medical cannabis market in Georgia is in a developmental phase, with potential for growth as regulatory hurdles are addressed. Here is a detailed overview of the current state and future projections for Georgia's medical cannabis industry:


Current Patient Count

As of the latest reports, Georgia has approximately 13,000 active medical cannabis patients. This number is significantly lower than earlier estimates, which were inflated due to administrative errors, including expired cards and duplicate entries​ (Cannabis Business Times)​.


Sales Data

Due to the nascent stage of the medical cannabis program in Georgia and the delays in licensing, comprehensive sales data is currently limited. However, the opening of dispensaries by Trulieve and Botanical Sciences in 2023 marks the beginning of legitimate market activity, with expectations for sales to increase as patient access improves and more dispensaries open.


License Issuance

To date, Georgia has issued the following licenses:

  • Class 1 Production Licenses: Two licenses have been issued to Botanical Sciences and Trulieve, allowing them to cultivate cannabis and produce low-THC oil in facilities up to 100,000 square feet each.

  • Dispensing Licenses: Each Class 1 production license holder can operate up to five dispensaries. Both Botanical Sciences and Trulieve have been awarded these licenses, with Trulieve having opened its fifth dispensary recently​ (Cannabis Business Times)​.


Future License Issuance

Georgia plans to issue additional licenses based on patient growth benchmarks:

  • Additional Dispensary Licenses: The Georgia Access to Medical Cannabis Commission (GMCC) can issue a sixth dispensary license to each production licensee when the patient registry reaches 25,000 patients. Further licenses can be issued for every additional 10,000 patients​ (Cannabis Business Times)​.


Qualified Medical Conditions

The conditions qualifying for medical cannabis in Georgia include, but are not limited to:

  • Cancer

  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)

  • Seizure disorders related to epilepsy or trauma-related head injuries

  • Multiple sclerosis

  • Crohn’s disease

  • Mitochondrial disease

  • Parkinson’s disease

  • Sickle cell disease

  • Tourette’s syndrome

  • Autism spectrum disorder

  • Epidermolysis bullosa

  • Alzheimer's disease

  • AIDS

  • Peripheral neuropathy

  • PTSD

  • Severe or end-stage conditions that result in pain, nausea, or seizures​ (Cannabis Business Times)​.


Georgia Cannabis Consultants

The medical cannabis market in Georgia is poised for growth as regulatory processes are streamlined and patient access improves. With the establishment of initial dispensaries and the potential for future license expansions, the market outlook is promising. However, businesses must navigate the strict regulatory landscape and prepare for evolving market conditions to capitalize on these opportunities. For experienced guidance and strategic planning, partnering with a consultancy like Cann Strategy can provide a significant advantage in securing licenses and ensuring compliance.

SWOT Analysis
Market Projections
Qualifying Conditions

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Contact us to discuss Georgia cannabis business consulting services.

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