ATLANTA – A surprising growth in Georgia’s controversial medical marijuana program. State Consultant Alan Powell has launched a mid-session invoice that might dramatically alter the medical marijuana landscape in Georgia.
His invoice would greater than triple the variety of firms promoting medicinal marijuana and now not enable the State Medical Hashish Fee to function in secret.
“In 32 years, I’ve by no means needed to take care of a repair like this,” Powell instructed I-Group reporter Dale Russell
Powell stated by greater than tripling the variety of medical marijuana operators, he hopes to jumpstart what he calls a tangled mess and get hashish oil into arms of sufferers.
The 16 dropping bidders who’ve filed a proper protest will likely be added to the six firms already awarded a license.
Reporter: “Truthful to say this invoice in your thoughts, hopefully guts the protest course of?”
Powell: “That is what it does. There’s a judicial repair and a legislative repair, this can be a legislative repair,”
For 5 months the I-Group has investigated the awarding of medical marijuana licenses in Georgia.
The FOX 5 I-Group began with a Florida firm known as Trulieve. The corporate’s CEO Kim Rivers is married to a person not too long ago convicted of public corruption prices in Florida.
Truleive, certainly one of Georgia’s successful bidders, instructed us JT Burnette had no function with Truelieve Ga.
Then there was Jigar Patel of Nature’s GA, additionally a successful bidder. Patel was as soon as a enterprise affiliate with a person in Massachusetts who admitted in courtroom to bribing a Massachusetts Mayor to win his medical marijuana license.
Nature’s GA wrote to stated it was irrelevant “as a result of the corporate separated ties with that particular person lengthy earlier than our Georgia utility was submitted.”
And, lastly, we discovered Michael Mayes who provided recommendation to the fee, despatched in license utility directions, and volunteered to be a advisor totally free. He promised he would not bid.
The fee by no means used him as a advisor.However, Michael Mayes ended up as one of many successful bidders. Critics noticed a doable battle.
“It appears to be like actual unhealthy when you do not put that out entrance,” stated Jerome Lee an lawyer for one of many dropping bidders.
The I-Group additionally reported how 1000’s of pages of successful bids, by legislation, had been redacted and stored secret from dropping bidders, the general public, and the media.
The scoring of these successful bids – by politically appointed commissioners – was additionally stored secret. Lastly, when the I-Group tried to attend bid protest zoom hearings – extra secrets and techniques. The Fee would not allow us to in.
Legislators had been additionally stored at the hours of darkness. At a latest oversight committee assembly, Andrew Turnage, Government Director at Georgia Entry to Medical Hashish Fee, repeatedly instructed lawmakers the legislation prevented him from sharing even fundamental data.
Alan Powell’s new invoice,l backed by a number of co-sponsors would shine a shiny gentle on the present darkness shrouding the bid course of. The invoice would make most all the State Medical Hashish Fee’s work product topic to the Georgia Open Information Act.
“Everyone’s received a proper to see what goes on and to see the method, together with legislators,” Powell stated.
And, lastly Powell’s invoice will arrange a scoring system to be executed by neutral third celebration consultants if the fee ever must license a brand new firm to develop and promote medical marijuana.
At present, politically appointed commissioners picked the winners.
Reporter: “Who wins with this invoice, if it passes?”
Powell: “The winners could be these individuals who want hashish oil for the therapies of their illness.”
The I-Group talked to a number of dropping bidders who stated they’re cautiously optimistic concerning the passing of the invoice. However, some stated they’re nonetheless sad with the preliminary bid course of that they consider was too secretive and too political.