Georgia lawmakers who have been searching for a way to jumpstart the state’s stalled medical cannabis program made progress March 14 when a House committee approved legislation that would allow regulators to redo the licensing process, according to Capitol Beat.

House Bill 1425, sponsored by Rep. Bill Werkhiser (R-Glennville), would scrap the current program, as well as the licenses that the state tentatively issued last year, and authorize a new request for proposals (RFP) from companies looking to produce and sell low-THC oil to Georgia’s registered patient base.

After years of regulatory limbo that allowed registered patients to legally possess—but not purchase—the oil, which can contain no more than 5% THC under state law, lawmakers approved legislation in 2019 to legalize the production and sale of the oil in the state.

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A new regulatory body, the Georgia Access to Medical Cannabis Commission, then licensed six companies in July 2021 to produce and sell the oil to the state’s patients, but 16 unsuccessful applicants challenged the licensing process, which has delayed the rollout of the program.

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Last month, Georgia Rep. Alan Powell (R-Hartwell) introduced House Bill 1400 to allow regulators to grant licenses to those 16 companies in an effort to revive the program.

RELATED: New Legislation in Georgia Aims to Jumpstart State’s Medical Cannabis Program

H.B. 1400 cleared a House Committee March 1.

Now, Werkhiser’s bill aims to go a bit further by authorizing a complete do-over of Georgia’s medical cannabis program.

“We’ve got patients we’ve been trying to get [cannabis] oil to for at least four years,” he told members of the House Judiciary Committee, according to Capitol Beat.

H.B. 1425 aims to finally get the oil into the hands of Georgia’s roughly 20,000 registered patients by putting the Department of Administrative Services in charge of overseeing the new RFP in partnership with an independent third party, the news outlet reported.

New medical cannabis licenses must be issued by the end of December under the legislation, according to Capitol Beat.

In addition, H.B. 1425 would expand the number of licenses by two for every increase of 50,000 patients, the news outlet reported.

March 15 is the Crossover Day deadline for bills to pass at least one chamber of the Georgia Legislature to remain alive during this year’s legislative session, according to Capitol Beat.