Many Georgians are hearing about medical marijuana making its debut here in Georgia in 2023. We are all so excited to have broken the ice here in a state we thought we would never see an end to complete marijuana prohibition and this is a step in the right direction for the state. However, medical marijuana isn’t actually ‘new’ here.
A bill was passed by governor Nathan Deal in 2015, permitting low THC oil up to 5% THC for people with a select few medical conditions. This bill did not allow for cultivation or distribution in the state of Georgia, meaning folks still had to trek to a legal state, like Colorado, to purchase said oil. Then the trick was to safely transport it across the country (through several prohibition states) to get it back home. This obviously wasn’t feasible for most people who sought out a medical card, in every attempt to legally acquire the medicine they needed to treat diseases like cancer, Crohn’s disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease, mitochondrial disease, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, seizure disorders and sickle cell disease.*
Because of the restrictions 25,000 people who had legally acquired medical marijuana cards had no legal access to medical marijuana in Georgia for eight years. The consultation fee to meet a doctor who can prescribe medical marijuana is around $150 to $250. Then a $25 fee to register for the card and it needs to be renewed every 24 months.
At Alpine Dispensary, we had many people call in the last four years saying they registered for their medical marijuana card and their doctor told them to contact us. If those doctors had called us themselves or checked our website, they would have seen that we are in fact a hemp dispensary and no one needs a medical card to shop here. Or they may have known, there wasn’t actually a single medical dispensary in the state of Georgia, therefore making your medical card in Georgia until this year essentially useless. Nonetheless, they continued to sell medical cards to people desperate for a solution.
It wasn’t until 2019 when House Bill 324 was passed, allowing for in state cultivation. Then came the challenge of deciding who could actually cultivate and sell medical marijuana oil. Initially the state decided to select six companies to oversee the cultivation, manufacturing and sales of marijuana oil. Each chosen company could open five storefronts. There was a legal issue when 15 of the losing companies that applied contested the decision and only two companies ended up being chosen to have licenses currently.
The products these companies are legally allowed to offer are topicals, capsules and sublinguals. For the time being there won’t be vapes, flower or edibles sold at these dispensaries.
Next I am going to discuss what medical cardholders will be able to access at the medical dispensaries and what we offer at Alpine Dispensary to the general public with no medical card required.
The only topical medical marijuana product currently available in Georgia’s two medical dispensaries, is a 1:1 CBD to THC lotion that is 250mg of total cannabinoids per container.
At Alpine Dispensary, we offer a topical salve that is 1500mg of CBD and 1500mg of THC per 2 ounce container. That is 3000 total cannabinoids condensed into a 2 ounce salve.
The benefits of topicals are the fast acting effect, localized pain relief and there is a lack of ‘high’ associated with topicals because it doesn’t enter your bloodstream.
The medical dispensaries will also be offering a 10mg THC capsule. The benefit to capsules are that they are discreet, long lasting, odorless and tasteless and digest in the gut making them excellent for gut issues. At Alpine Dispensary, we offer a 15mg delta 8 THC capsule that is both stronger and cheaper per milligram that you do need a card to get.
As far as sublinguals, the medical dispensaries can offer a 5% THC oil. They will carry a 500mg THC and a 300mg THC tincture in varying flavors.
Alpine Dispensary offers a 1200mg THC delta 8 tincture in varying flavors such as lemon cheesecake and lavender vanilla that are less than half the cost per milligram.
The benefit of sublinguals is the fast onset and ability to control dosage closely.
The point of this comparison is to open up a dialogue about the difference between ‘marijuana’ and ‘hemp’. As a hemp dispensary we can have high quality, high potency and highly effective products that are affordable and well within the legal limit as defined by the 2018 Farm Bill.
The intent behind cannabis use defines whether its ‘recreational’ or ‘medical’, not a certain percentage of delta 9 THC. If I take a CBD gummy to manage my chronic migraines and it works for me, am I not using CBD medically? It’s the application of the product that defines its use to the consumer. Cannabis is cannabis, whether it falls over the line of .3% THC or below. The difference is hemp products are more accessible to the general public and for many are even more effective than medical marijuana that you need a license to purchase. As with any cannabis product, we always recommend checking the certificates of analysis and never shying away from bringing up any questions or concerns with a distributor.
Georgia medical marijuana doesn’t have any allowances in the foreseeable future for smokables such as vapes and flower. For many, that is their preferred method of consumption because of its quick onset and ability to control dose closely. Thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill we are able to carry smokeable products that will provide noticeable effects and can provide relief for those who find it in smokeable products. At Alpine Dispensary, we now have our new THCa flower that is just as potent as any medical or recreational strains you can find in other states. Check out our blog explaining THCa and how it is just good ol’ weed. We have potent edibles that taste delicious and remain below the limit for delta 9 THC by dried weight. This is not to discourage those who find relief from the medical product but to make it known that there are other viable, basically identical product options here at Alpine Dispensary.
At Alpine Dispensary, we have an entire team of certified, knowledgeable budtenders who can answer any of your questions and will be more than happy to help you find the perfect product for whatever your desired outcomes are. At the end of the day, what is important is everyone having access to safe cannabis products that improve their quality of life. That starts with an open dialogue and education on cannabis and its applications and accessibility.