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Georgia gives the green light to grow medicinal cannabis

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ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) — It’s a big step forward for tens of thousands of Georgians living with epilepsy, cancer, chronic pain and more.

“We are so excited to get to work. It’s taken a long time,” said Kim Rivers, CEO of Trulieve.

Trulieve and Botanical Sciences are the two companies Georgia has approved for licenses to grow and manufacture medical marijuana.

It’s a move that brings some patients one step closer to accessing cannabis oil, which was legalized in Georgia in 2015.

The licensing process has been stalled by legal challenges, forcing Georgians to wait years for access to medical marijuana.

Trulieve’s CEO says that with the license, there’s finally some movement in getting their products to patients. She says they operate out of their facility in Adel.

“We have local people today beginning the cultivation process at our facility so we can bring this life-changing drug to patients in Georgia.”

Parents like Sebastian Cotte are cautiously optimistic.

“I’m happy about that, but I think we all have to understand that this is far from over,” said Cotte.

Sebastian’s son Jagger suffers from a rare neurological condition.

He moved his family from Atlanta to Colorado so his son could be treated with cannabis oil. He and his family are now back in Georgia.

“Jagger just turned 12 and a big part of that is because of cannabis oil,” Cotte said. “It was many things, but cannabis has a lot to do with Jagger being alive today.”

State laws require companies to begin production within a year.

“From our perspective, there will be no delays,” Rivers said.

Both companies are authorized to open five pharmacies.

“By locating our stores across the state and not just in a single metropolitan area it’s definitely part of our ethos and who we are and secondly we offer a variety of products knowing that no two ailments are necessarily the same” , Rivers said.

In a statement to CBS 46, Botanical Sciences founder and CEO Dr. Robin Fowler:

“Botanical Sciences is honored to have been selected and received a Class 1 Production License by the Georgia Access to Medical Cannabis Commission. It looks forward to improving the lives of Georgians with much-needed and long-awaited medicines.”