Medical marijuana companies influenced passage of Georgia law

May 13th, 2019 by admin Leave a reply »

Even before Georgia lawmakers approved medical marijuana sales this year, the industry was angling to set up shop.

Marijuana companies hired well-connected lobbyists and gave campaign contributions this year to help smooth passage of a bill that allows the drug’s cultivation and distribution.

Those efforts could pay off big for several businesses if they receive one of Georgia’s six licenses to grow medical marijuana.

While it might take a couple of years before marijuana oil sales begin, companies have already lined up for the opportunity to break into a new market. They hired at least 20 lobbyists to shape the medical marijuana legislation before it passed the Georgia General Assembly and was signed by Gov. Brian Kemp.

One company, Surterra Wellness, gained an inside track when state House Speaker David Ralston appointed its former president to a marijuana study committee last year. Another business, Trulieve, hired Ralston’s son, Matthew Ralston, as one of its lobbyists. And a Forsyth County company, Compass Neuroceutical, plans to announce a partnership with an unnamed company in hopes it can also get into the marijuana business.

Whichever companies win medical marijuana production licenses from the state will be the only businesses legally allowed to sell the product to Georgia’s growing number of registered patients — about 9,500 so far. Marijuana opponents fear that businesses will push to expand the state’s marijuana program to tens of thousands more patients once they

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