City of Savannah plans ahead for medical marijuana oil dispensaries

Published: Sep. 22, 2022 at 11:27 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - The wait is almost over for anyone who wants medical marijuana.

It’s not legal yet, but the City of Savannah had a workshop Thursday night to discuss getting ahead of it.

It’s a joint effort right now between the city and the Savannah Police Department to establish regulations and examine where the dispensaries can be located.

This will only be prescription-based medicinal marijuana in oil form. It will be a low level of THC that isn’t smokable, vapeable or edible.

There was lengthy discussion on how the city can make sure this process is inclusive.

Some council members aren’t in favor of the process so far.

“It’s a little biased...discriminatory and what have you. It’s only gonna benefit those six companies as far as economics that are concerned,” said Post 2 At-Large Alderwoman Alicia Miller Blakely.

Only 6 companies will be able to distribute in the state, but there can be multiple vendors within the city.

There’s also a regulated number of people who can have grow licenses.

“The state has allowed these dispensaries to operate. They’ve selected a certain number. We can’t speak to that process, but we want to make sure we are prepared,” said Jay Melder, the city manager.

The City of Savannah is just getting ahead of the next legislative session by figuring out where the dispensaries will be located. The preliminary proposal is downtown outside of savannah’s alcohol overlays.

Alderwoman Bernetta Lanier thinks they need to be more consistent.

“Do we have pharmacies in alcohol overlays that sell opioids?”

They also have the Savannah Police Department examining the public safety aspect to make sure the dispensaries won’t be a nuisance.

Alderman Nick Palumbo said he’s ready for a decision from the state and legislators have been arguing for too many years.

He said: “40,000 people who are registered and have these licenses who have cancer, who suffered from seizures, who suffered from Multiple sclerosis, from Parkinson’s Disease, from Alzheimer’s, who are in hospice, have suffered while lawmakers like us have continued arguing over the details.”

Savannah still has a ban on any new marijuana-related licenses. The ban does not affect CBD shops that are already selling products.

The city is still in a discussion phase. Their recommendations will go through the Metropolitan Planning Commission.

The MPC will consider their feedback in design plans.

After the state legalizes it when they’re back in legislative session, Savannah’s city council will still have the power to vote.

WTOC has covered this state law extensively in a digital exclusive series.