History was made on Friday, April 28 as the first Georgia medical marijuana dispensary opened its doors to the public. The store, called Trulieve, is part of a cannabis company with locations in Florida and Arizona. They sell a variety of lotions, oils, and capsules.

Read on to find out about the first Georgia medical marijuana dispensary and what makes the occasion so momentous.

About the First Georgia Medical Marijuana Dispensary

Trulieve opened its two first Georgia medical marijuana dispensary locations last Friday, one in Macon and one in Marietta after licenses were issued in accordance with an April 26 Georgia Access to Medical Cannabis Commission vote.

GMCC bylaws require three other approved dispensaries to be fully operational within 120 days of the license issuance.

Truelieve will be opening three other locations in Columbus, Newnan, and Pooler. The company Botanical Sciences, LLC has also received dispensary licenses and plans to open locations in Pooler and Marietta in the next few months.

The GMCC awarded both companies Class I licenses in 2021. They allow for the growing, cultivating, and manufacturing of THC oil in an indoor space of no more than 10,000 square feet.

“We believe that access to medical marijuana improves lives and Trulieve is proud to be the first to provide that access to the state of Georgia. We look forward to providing high-quality products and an elite experience,” said Trulieve CEO Kim Rivers.

“It’s very important for us to not only be here and open for business for sales, but also as an education center, so I would encourage folks that if you have questions about medical cannabis, if you’re wondering what I do next, two things- one, feel free to stop by our store, we’d love to talk to you, but also online at Truelieve.com.

Woman Drives 45 for First Georgia Medical Marijuana Dispensary Grand Opening

The first Georgia medical marijuana dispensary opening made history. But Karen Aviles also contributed to marijuana culture in a big way.

She drove 45 minutes from her home in Milledgeville to attend the grand opening. The Georgia resident suffers from Crohn’s Disease and arthritis and says it’s nice to finally have access to a remedy.

“Knowing that I can walk through here any time and get what I need for relief,” Aviles said.

She is looking forward to fewer seizures. She also encourages others who qualify for a low-THC card to apply.

The card costs $25. Renewal is required bi-annually. It covers various conditions such as cancer, post-traumatic stress disorder, Alzheimer’s, and seizure disorders. More details on obtaining the card and how to quality can be found on the Georgia Department of Health website.

What the GMCC Has to Say About the First Georgia Medical Marijuana Dispensary

medical doctor holding cannabis leaf and bottle of cannabis oil on white background.

“Our (Class I production) licensees, Botanical and Trulieve, have been working hard to get their production facilities fully operational. They have each signaled they are ready to sell to registered patients by applying for these initial dispensing licenses. We look forward to joining the two companies for their dispensary grand openings as they begin to provide low-THC oil and products for Georgia patients, “said the executive director of the GMCC Andrew Turnage.

Patients on the Georgia Department of Public Health’s Low-THC Oil Patient Registry that have a medical card will be able to buy medical cannabis medication at the first Georgia medical marijuana dispensary and other locations. The term applies to non-smokable cannabis products like oils, tinctures, topicals, pills, and capsules.

What’s Taking Georgia So Long?

The first Georgia medical marijuana dispensary is a milestone. But it puts the state far behind other states that are already welcoming several recreational dispensaries. You may be wondering, what’s taken Georgia so long?

The state has only issued two Class I licenses and four Class II licenses of the estimated 70 businesses that applied in accordance with its 2019 Georgia legislator-approved laws.

The Class II licenses, which allow businesses to operate spaces of up to 50,000 square feet for growing, manufacturing, and cultivation, are on hold due to a pending lawsuit. Temporary restraining orders were issued to nine applicants that weren’t awarded licenses and accused the commission of inconsistent and unfair scoring. FFD GA Holdings LLC, Theratrue Georgia LLC, Natures GA LLC, and Treevana Remedy Inc are pending approval once legal steps are taken.

“We are hopeful that the Commission will be able to issue Class 2 production licenses to our top-scoring applicants this year and pave more ways to provide Georgia patients with access to medical cannabis. The work of the Commission has always been focused on ‘access’ as mentioned in the agency’s name for our patients, and we are committed to ensuring that they receive the relief they have waited years for,” Turnage explained.

Justice. Judge hammer on the table

Georgia law authorizes the GMCC to issue up to five initial dispensing licenses to each licensee. They are expected the number of dispensing licenses to increase to better meet the demands of the approximate 28,000 patients on the Low-THC Oil Patient Registry.

The first Georgia medical marijuana dispensary and other dispensaries will be required to pass a pre-operational GMCC inspection before dispensing its low-THC products to patients.

“We appreciate the support and patience for the work of the Commission as we worked through the process required by law to ensure safe and quality access to medical cannabis,” said GMCC chair Sid Johnson.

Georgia Cannabis Legislation

Although the first Georgia medical marijuana dispensary opened, recreational marijuana is still illegal in the state. A recent poll by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution shows that most residents say it should be legal for both medical and recreational purposes. About 53% said it should be legal for adults, up 7% from a 2017 poll.

However, Georgia lawmakers in the majority-Republican General Assembly have done little to grant the people’s wishes. No bills for recreational marijuana have been introduced by either political party and previous proposals have not advanced.