Marijuana Oversite Committee: a bald head white man in a dark suit with glasses at a podium with mic and two bottle of water
Representative Micah Gravley speaks at the first meeting of the Medical Cannabis Oversight Committee on Sept. 13. (Screenshot from meeting)

ATLANTA — The Medical Cannabis Oversight Committee will continue researching testing and manufacturing protocols for cannabis production in other states before setting guidelines for Georgia, members said at its first meeting Monday. 

The joint committee will provide the Georgia Access to Medical Cannabis Commission with official recommendations for policies and procedures regarding laboratory testing for THC products in Georgia. Products from the six companies permitted to grow and process cannabis in the state will be tested for safety and legal concentration by accredited third-party labs before being distributed to patients. 

Before providing its recommendations, the committee will explore manufacturing protocols from legislation in Minnesota and Utah

Like Georgia, both states only allow cannabis use for medical purposes, though the Minnesota House of Representatives recently passed legislation to allow recreational use of cannabis for adults. 

Rep. Micah Gravley, a Republican from Douglasville, said the committee chose Minnesota because of similarities in patient registries and diagnosis eligibility. The committee also sought to reflect Utah’s caution in manufacturing protocols compared to other states. 

“Georgia wanted to remain cautious and make sure we were getting it done right,” Gravley said, “Utah actually mirrored some of those same qualities. We wanted to take the best of both states, and probably throw in one or two other states as well.” 

Gravley said he hopes to review manufacturing protocols in states where Georgia’s new licensees are already operating. Of the six new licensees, Trulieve GA Inc., Theratrue Georgia LLC, and Treevana Remedy Inc. currently do business in other states. 

Sen. Matt Brass, a Republican from Newnan, described the process of examining other states as an “a la carte menu.” 

“We don’t necessarily have to reinvent the wheel here,” Brass said. “We’re just going to have to find the model that suits Georgia best.” 

While the committee is dedicated to providing safe products for THC users in Georgia, Brass said that they want to avoid any further delays once the recommendations are made to the commission. 

The committee was expected to provide manufacturing recommendations to the commission by Aug. 1, but permits were not granted until July 24. 

This delay comes after years of waiting by Georgians hoping to buy THC oil without leaving the state. Georgia legalized medical marijuana oil containing less than 5% THC in 2015, but patients have not yet been able to purchase it legally. 

The committee discussed the possibility of including the Georgia Department of Agriculture in the creation of manufacturing protocols, following in Utah’s footsteps. 

Gravley said he hopes to work alongside the Department of Agriculture moving forward. 

“This is an agricultural product,” Gravley said, “and we are an agricultural state.” 

Brass said he hopes the committee will announce its official recommendations during its next meeting. There are no further meetings scheduled at this time. 

The committee was established in 2019 under HB 324 and reaffirmed in 2021 under SB 195, and also includes Rep. Sam Watson, a Republican from Moultrie, and Sen. Freddie Powell Sims, a Democrat from Dawson. 

For more from Fresh Take Georgia and the latest updates, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.