A Forsyth County company vying for one of the state’s few licenses to distribute and produce low-THC oil is teaming with a major player in the cannabis industry.
Officials with Compass Neuroceutical, Inc. announced this week it has teamed with Acreage Holdings – “the largest vertically integrated, multi-state owner of cannabis licenses and assets in the U.S.” – to form a Georgia-based subsidiary Acreage Compass, LLC.
“Because our team is from the state of Georgia and we believe in this endeavor, we chose to take the risk, before the law passed, of pulling capital, resources and manpower,” said Justin Hawkins, CEO of Compass Neuroceutical. “Therefore, we had a responsibility to seek out a partner that aligned with the values of ‘patients come first.’”
Hawkins said that some of the reasons the company wanted to partner with Acreage were they are the largest multi-state operator in the country, it created a system of “significant financial and human capital destined to create good-paying jobs and economic growth” across the state and Acreage’s leadership includes CEO Kevin Murphy, former Speaker of the House John Boehner, former Governor of Massachusetts Bill Weld and former Prime Minister of Canada Brian Mulroney.
Hawkins and Dr. Scott Cooper, a neurologist at Northside Hospital, formed Compass Neuroceutical earlier this year to advocate for approval of House Bill 324, which allows for production of, manufacturing and dispensing of low-THC, the active ingredient in cannabis plants, oils.
After the bill was signed into law by Gov. Brian Kemp in April, Compass Neuroceutical announced they would be seeking a license for distribution and production of the oil.
The bill sets up a system to legally produce and distribute the low-THC oil and sets up licensing for distribution and production and allows the University of Georgia and Fort Valley State University to study and produce the oil.
Hawkins said members of the panel that will oversee those licenses have not yet been chosen.
Previously, the oil was legal to prescribe or possess in the state – as long as they were less than 5% THC concentration and amounting to less than 20 ounces a month – but it was illegal to grow cannabis for the oil or transport the oil across state lines.
Thirty-three states have comprehensive medical marijuana programs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Georgia is one of 13 other states that allow patients to possess a lower-potency form of the drug.
Ailments that can benefit from using the oil include cancer, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, intractable pain, post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, and others. Patients will be required to have a $25 registration card from the state Department of Health.
Per the company’s website, Acreage operates dispensaries and cultivation throughout the country, and, excluding locations in Florida, a location in Georgia would be the first in the southeast.“Acreage Compass will be the largest organization in the state of Georgia led by a Georgia team to apply for any license,” Hawkins said.