Setting up a cannabis business in Georgia is not as easy as it might sound. Historically, its production was not even legalized. However, over time, much tolerance has been allowed by the government regarding its production and selling. This article is a power pack of all the elements one must go through if one is planning to set up a cannabis business in Georgia. All the factors are in correspondence with the current trends and laws by the government of Georgia.
Cannabis Legalization in Georgia
In 2015, Governor Nathan Deal signed the Haleigh’s Hope Act and made cannabis oil with low THC legal for some medical conditions. However, cannabis was still illegal to be grown and sold. In medical situations, local patients used to violate the laws by purchasing them from other states.
Then, in April 2017, Brian Kemp signed House Bill 324 that provided more ease in terms of its usage for the patients but still failed to provide a dispensing system. Finally, in 2019, Georgia made it legal for patients to acquire and utilize low THC cannabis oil under House Bill 324 to treat their illness.
The businesses were allowed to manufacture and sell state-licensed cannabis products. Recently, in 2020, the Georgia Cannabis Commission started accepting applications to grant licenses for class 1 and class 2 production.
What Kind of Ailments are Allowed to be Treated with Cannabis Oil?
To qualify for using cannabis for medical purposes, the government requires patients to have an oil registry card provided by the Department of Public Health. To get their card, the patient is advised to see their physician who will further verify if they need to consume cannabis or not. The verification involves examining the patient’s condition and if they are suffering from an ailment that requires cannabis treatment. Upon clearance of their case, they will be granted permission to be treated for the most common ailments, namely, Autism spectrum disease, Parkinson’s disease, Cancer, Epilepsy, Seizures, Epidermolysis bullosa, Mitochondrial disease, Crohn’s disease, Post-traumatic stress disorder, Tourette’s syndrome, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Multiple sclerosis, Sickle cell disease, AIDs, Alzheimer’s disease, Intractable pain, and Peripheral neuropathy.
The law legalizes the production and distribution of low-THC oils in Georgia by permitting six private companies and two state universities, namely, the University of Georgia and Fort Valley State University. They have the certification to grow cannabis and produce cannabis oil in Georgia for medical purposes. Out of these 6 companies, only 2 private companies are allowed to grow cannabis on up to 100,000 square feet of space. While the other four can have up to 50,000 square feet.
Things to Consider Before Starting a Cannabis Business
When you decide to start a business within a city, you need to examine all the factors that together sum up the entire business. From its manufacturing to marketing, make sure you have no loose ends. You will be required to speculate what is the earning potential of the product, who are your competitors, what are the risk factors involved, what cost will be required for the overall production, how you will manage your staff, and the list goes on.
Make sure that there is a considerable amount of demand for cannabis within your area before you invest your money. Also, keep in mind that you might encounter other businesses that you will be competing with.
You will not be alone in this journey. Cannabis production has become a lucrative business since its legalization in one of the busiest states of the United States, Georgia. The state has seen more profit in its production and the market has engaged in several competitions. Let’s take a look at some considerations if you decide to start a cannabis business in the United States.
Decide the Type of Business You Want to Set Up
An idea is crucial to execute a plan. The more a plan is thoughtful, the more efficient a business will be. Hence, setting an idea must be the first step in setting any business. When you have finally decided to start a cannabis business in the United States, the steps discussed below will help you determine what kind of cannabis product you are going to produce.
Decide whether you are looking forward to opening a dispensary, grow cannabis, or just want to deliver it. After you are done with your planning, take the next step regarding the legal procedures to sell cannabis.
Furthermore, you need to speculate the current orders related to the legalization of cannabis since it drastically alters over time. Go through proper research, and learn about the rules of how, when, and where to market cannabis. If there is no relevant source regarding the information you are looking for, reach out to the people who are already in this industry and take some advice.
Devise a Business Plan That Follows Your Idea
After you have made up your mind, make a proper plan that includes all the strategies, requirements, and considerations to help you start your business. Cannabis is a strictly regulated business that requires much effort and thought. Hence, your business plan must align with the legal requirements to sell cannabis. Keep yourself updated related to the evolving trend in marijuana production in the United States to avoid any uncertain situation or legal enforcement. Your business plan must encompass the aspects like, where you will sell it, where you will set the plant, who your staff and suppliers will be. Know your competitors and the strategies to market them like no other. Set the overall cost required for its production. Lastly, consult a legal advisor who will help you with all the legal procedures.
Purchase a License
The registration of a cannabis business including its license and permit is different for each state. For this purpose, you will need to consult a legal counsel who will manage all the legal matters for your business and will also instruct you on how to handle all the official matters. Furthermore, every state sets a website or internet portal where they guide people about the rules and regulations of setting up a cannabis business.
Register the Entity and Name Your Business
Setting up your business entity and name is a crucial step after your planning. Due to the legalization and prohibition laws of cannabis production on federal and interstate levels, many big-scale businesses are avoiding this route.
Hence, people are starting their local businesses on a smaller scale, usually as a corporation or as a limited liability company (LLC) that protects them from personal liabilities. The business owners need to set the name of their business which is not used by others. Some amount of fee will then be required to reserve the name.
Ready to form an LLC? Check out our Georgia LLC Services for more information on getting started.
Set up a Funding Channel
Every entrepreneur must be prepared for the expenses, taxes, and costs required to run a cannabis business. If you do not have a sufficient amount to initiate your business, you can get into some serious financial hot waters. For this reason, you may consult investors who can provide you with vital funds to secure your business. An investor will first go through your business strategy to make sure it will not incur any loss, then he will make his mind to aid you in the form of funds.
Taxes are Obligatory
Taxes are inevitable for businesses. Paying taxes is not only essential, but the strictness to avoid them varies from state to state. After setting up your business, you will need to acquire a business tax ID number, also known as Employer Identity Number to pay your taxes. Tax recording is necessary when you file your yearly income tax.
For that purpose, you need to apply for an EIN online directory from the IRS. This also assists you to manage your bank accounts and credit card processing.
Differences Between Cannabis and Marijuana
Cannabis and Marijuana belong to the genus of flowering plants within the Cannabaceae family. The family includes several plant species among which Marijuana is categorized as the most popular one. Although both cannabis and marijuana belong to the same genus. There is a minor difference between them.
Generally, the term cannabis is used to refer to cannabis products. Whereas, Marijuana refers to the cannabis products made from the dried components of a cannabis plant and contains fewer THC elements, not more than 15% or 30% when compared to other cannabis products. Marijuana is mainly used as cigarettes but is also used as an ingredient for cookies, tea, or beverages.
What is THC Cannabis Oil?
It is a form of cannabis oil that contains 5% of tetrahydrocannabinol, which is a hallucinogenic compound. The core component of cannabis oil is cannabidiol and THC which helps patients with ailments, namely, nausea, appetite loss or eating disorders, chronic pain, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, and other diseases.
What is CBD Oil?
CBD oil differs from medical cannabis since it is harvested from hemp. Hemp, as compared to cannabis, is legal in Georgia. It contains minimal amounts of THC that are not sufficient to treat a patient.
Every successful business relies on its think-thank to have plans ready way before they need to be executed. Pre-planning is the major part of every business strategy. You need to have some set of ideas to work on, resources, fundings, and legal assistance to help you grow cannabis in one of the busiest states of the United States, Georgia. Weigh your options and the risk factors appropriately in order to avoid any loss that might rip you away from all of your savings.
Being a senior business associate, Peter Davidson strives to help different brands and start ups to make efficient business decisions and plan effective business strategies. With years of rich domain expertise, he loves to share his views on the latest technologies and applications through his well researched content pieces.
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