Harris and Associates, LLC & Georgia Hemp Association Host 2021 Farmer’s Forum: Hemp Cultivation In Georgia




GEORGIA: Harris and Associates LLC, hosts of 710 Georgia Compassion Day – the nation’s first cannabis education symposium held at a state capitol building – have partnered with Michael “Coach” Harris, the first hemp lobbyist in the state and CEO of the Georgia Hemp Association, and Georgia House Representatives Robert Dickey (R-Musella), Winfred Dukes (D-Albany), Micha Gravely (R-Douglasville), Democratic Whip Harold Jones III (D-Augusta) and Billy Mitchell (D-Stone Mountain), for 2021 Farmers Forum:  Hemp Cultivation in Georgia, a  FREE online event on March 10, 2021, at 1:00 pm to explore opportunities within legal cannabis and hemp for farming and careers in the Southeastern region.

The inaugural Farmer’s Forum took place in 2019 at the state capitol with elected officials who sponsored Georgia HB 213 and HB324. Following the symposium, Harris and Associates LLC continued to host additional workshops in the community, inviting speakers from across the Nation, such as David Schmitt of Hemp Inc University and Bill Billings, the nation’s first legal hemp grower. Adhering to state guidelines, this year’s event will be held virtually and with a new spin featuring live speakers and taped conversations. Industry leaders and elected officials will hear farmers’ needs, explore solutions, and network to build industry infrastructure.  Aiming to assist patients denied safe access, businesses that want to avoid criminalization, and address the responsibilities and financial impact on farmers,  this symposium will be a resource for those at the starting point.

This FREE virtual event will bring patients, farmers, business leaders, industry experts, and advocates together to discuss topics ranging from winning a license to creating products and reinvesting in communities.

“Georgia patients and farmers are seeking guidance to advance hemp as a viable crop, medicine, and commodity- this forum is a pathway to the solutions stakeholders seek,” said Alexis Harris, CEO of Harris and Associates LLC and member of the Georgia Hemp Association, NWIAA, and Peachtree Norml. “We are grateful to continue to lead this conversation with patients, stakeholders, and elected officials to determine what approach will truly work for Georgia and this plant at all levels. As patients, advocates, and entrepreneurs under the 2018 Farm Bill, we have  connected with leaders across all professions to educate, inform and connect stakeholders who can build the infrastructure necessary for a strong economic and social impact.”

Featured speakers include Representative Dukes, Bruce Perlowin, founder of Hemp Inc, Noreen S Whitehead NWIAA Georgia Chairwoman, and industry entrepreneurs including Amy Ansel, Ted Talk Seattle Hemp Biochemist speaker and advocate Dr. Charles Walker.

 Other topics to be discussed during the summit include:

  • Safe Access and Decriminalization

  • Pathways to start a cannabis business

  • Careers in cannabis creating CBD hemp products

  • Certificate programs in hemp and cannabis (college/continuing education programs/ CLE)

  • Understanding land use and opportunities

  • How industry actions can reinvest in our communities

Additional sponsors of the 2021 Farmer’s Forum: Hemp Cultivation in Georgia include National Women in Agriculture, Troops Farms, Indigenous Hemp Education Association (IHEA), Legacy Farms, and  Status Network.

To register for this free event, visit 2021 Farmer’s Forum: Hemp Cultivation in Georgia

Surterra’s Beau Wrigley, Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville Create New Medical Marijuana Brand Coral Reefer

GEORGIA:   Surterra Wellness, a leading medical cannabis company, has announced a landmark global licensing deal to create a new medical marijuana brand, Coral Reefer. The new venture between Surterra and Coral Reefer will develop and market medical and therapeutic cannabis products, merchandise and a broad range of wellness lifestyle products under the Coral Reefer brand – the namesake of Jimmy Buffett’s world-famous band.

Coral Reefer products will be distributed exclusively through Surterra’s rapidly growing network of stores.

“Finally, ‘the time has come,’ as the Walrus said,” Buffett said. “That time being the long overdue recognition of the numerous healing properties of cannabis. I have followed and studied with keen intensity the recent evolvement of the medical marijuana story and the path towards the simple common-sense conclusion that cannabis is good medicine and should be made available to all who need it. I feel that joining with Surterra, in the medical cannabis world, is the right place for Coral Reefer products to be.”

Buffett’s business partner and Coral Reefer CEO John Cohlan said: “Our brands are about quality and improving people’s lives. We based our decision to work with Surterra in this new industry on the professionalism of its world-class management and commitment to quality and customer service. Surterra shares our vision of creating a cannabis wellness lifestyle brand that improves the health of millions of people around the world.”

“Obviously, with Beau Wrigley as chairman, Surterra possesses an understanding and capability for developing and honoring iconic brands,” Cohlan said.

The Coral Reefer licensing agreement comes one month after Wrigley, the former chairman and CEO of the family-founded gum and confections company, joined the Georgia-based medical cannabis company as board chairman. Wychwood Asset Management, Wrigley’s investment arm in West Palm Beach, Fla., recently led Surterra’s $65 million series C equity fundraising round, bringing the total capital raised to more than $100 million since 2015.

“Jimmy and the Margaritaville team have built premium brands that are widely admired and recognized around the world,” Wrigley said. “They share a long-term commitment to consumers and quality that we espouse at Surterra and together we have the infrastructure and capital to support fast growing, high-quality brands. We are thrilled to be partnering with them.”

After launching in Florida in 2019, Surterra plans to expand into additional states, with details to be released early next year.

Jake Bergmann, Surterra’s CEO, said, “This strategic partnership delivers on Surterra’s commitment to quality, integrity and building brands that consumers can trust. Our team at Surterra has established a reputation as thought leaders in this new industry, and our strategy will continue to lead with innovation, building a world-class portfolio of brands and products and expanding our business into multiple state and international markets.”

Commenting on the changing social views on cannabis, Wrigley said, “medical marijuana is a wonderful, natural product that helps people all over the world improve their health and well-being.”

Atlanta Cannabis Market Report

GEORGIA: The following Cannabis Marketplace Report summarizes the full Atlanta Market Report. Based on large sample sizes that are weighted and balanced to represent the market, the report delivers insightful consumer data about cannabis users including more than 1,000 data points such as opinions, reasons for use, attitudes, types of cannabis products purchased and spending levels.  Consumer Research Around Cannabis surveys 85+ markets in the U.S., and has just release its first Canadian report for the Greater Toronto-Niagara. For more information, click here.

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Georgia: Governor Signs Legislation Expanding CBD Exemption Law

GEORGIA: Republican Gov. Nathan Deal has signed legislation into law expanding the pool of patients eligible to possess CBD oil under the state’s limited medical exemption law.

Passage of House Bill 65 permits patients with post-traumatic stress disorder and intractable pain to receive a physician’s authorization to possess oils high in cannabidiol and low in THC. The bill also creates a study commission to make policy recommendations with regard to whether the state should provide in-state production and distribution of CBD products.

Under the law, eligible patients may possess up to 20 ounces of CBD-infused oils as long as they contain no more than five percent THC. However, the law does not provide for the licensed production of these products. According to a 2018 statewide poll commissioned by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 77 percent of voters support amending the law to permit the licensed production and distribution of medical cannabis.

For more information, contact Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director, at (202) 483-5500 or visit: Peachtree NORML.

Study: Marijuana Dispensaries Associated With Declining Rates Of Painkiller Abuse

GEORGIA: Cannabis dispensaries are associated with reduced levels of opioid-related treatment admissions and overall drug mortality, according to a study published online on SSRN.com.

A University of Georgia economics professor assessed the relationship between the opening of medical cannabis dispensaries and drug treatment admissions.

Dispensary openings are associated with “a 20 percentage point relative decrease in painkiller treatment over the first two-years of dispensary operations,” the study reported. This correlation was strongest among non-Hispanic white males in their thirties.

Dispensary openings also resulted in fewer drug-related mortalities per 100,000 people.

The author concludes, “[T]he unintended beneficial effects of allowing for marijuana dispensary operations should be considered by policymakers as they aim to curtail narcotic abuse and limit the impact of the opioid epidemic.”

The paper’s findings are similar to prior studies reporting that states permitting medical marijuana dispensaries experience a relative decrease in both opioid abuse and opioid overdose deaths compared to states that do not.

For more information, contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: paul@norml.org. Full text of the study, “The effect of medical marijuana dispensaries on adverse opioid outcomes,” appears online.

Cannabis Retail Facilities Associated With Rising Home Values

GEORGIA: Cannabis retail facilities are associated with increased home values, according to data to be published in the journal Real Estate Economics.

Researchers from the University of Georgia at Athens, the University of Wisconsin – Madison, and California State University Sacramento assessed the relationship between operational retail cannabis facilities in Denver, Colorado and fluctuations in nearby housing values.

Authors reported that single family residences within 0.1 miles of a retail marijuana establishment saw an increase in value of approximately 8.4 percent compared to those located slightly further – between 0.1 miles and 0.25 miles – from the site. That increase in property value was estimated to be almost $27,000 for an average house in the area.

They concluded, “In addition to sales and business taxes generated by the retail marijuana industry, the associated increase in property tax revenues represents another potentially appealing selling point for legalization.”

The findings are similar to those of a University of Mississippi paper which determined, “[L]egalizing retail marijuana leads to an average 6 percent housing value appreciation.”

For more information, contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: paul@norml.org. Full text of the study, “Contact high: The external effects of retail marijuana establishments on house prices,” appears in Real Estate Economics.

Hemp Diapers And Covers Help Keep Babies Cleaner, Save Parents Money, Industry Reports Show

GEORGIA: Reusable cloth diapers are becoming more popular among health- and environmentally-conscious parents. In response to increasing demand, Baby Tooshy has introduced new reusable cloth diapers and covers — made of hemp — that make cloth diapers virtually leak-proof, to help families save money and waste compared to disposable diapers.

Numerous studies have reported that the costs for cloth diapers – including laundry detergent and energy – are significantly lower for families than choosing to use disposable diapers. Disposable diapers cost families about $1,500 per year, compared with about the one-time cost of $600 for cloth diapers and associated costs, according to a data reported by the non-profit realdiapers.org.

Southern GOP Lawmaker Defends Medical Pot: ‘We’ve Never Had An Overdose On Marijuana’

GEORGIA: As state lawmakers consider a medical marijuana bill in Georgia, the measure is getting support from an unexpected source: a conservative Republican state representative.

During a radio interview on the Bryan Crabtree Show late last week, State Rep. David Clark (R) discussed HB 722, a proposal that would expand Georgia’s medical marijuana regime.

Clark, a self-described “Constitutional Conservative!!!!” gave a surprising and impassioned defense of medical marijuana.

“I do think it’s going to pass this session, and I think it should because pharmaceutical companies, those drugs and all that, have killed tens of thousands of people — overdoses and all that — every single year and we’ve never had an overdose on marijuana,” Clark said. “So I think it’s the right thing to do.”


Illinoisans Can Suggest New Diseases For Marijuana Program

ILLINOIS: Illinois residents who want to add specific diseases to the state’s medical marijuana pilot program have another chance to submit suggestions during January.

The Illinois Department of Public Health will accept petitions starting Jan. 1 and continuing through the month.

The program allows people to suggest new diseases for the program twice annually, in January and July. An advisory board reviews suggestions and makes recommendations.

Poll: Ga. Voters Massively Support Expanding Medical Marijuana Bill

GEORGIA: Their two-year-old daughter suffers from a debilitating variety of seizures. After her parents received her medical marijuana registration card, she had her first dose of cannabis oil and it helped her “immediately.”

A new statewide poll just released to 11Alive News shows Georgia voters massively support expanding the current medical marijuana bill.

According to Georgians for Freedom in Health Care 84.5% approve expanding the law to allow for in state cultivation and production of medical marijuana under strict regulation and security.