First medical marijuana dispensaries open in Georgia

Jim Wages, father of cannabis oil patient Sydney Wages, speaks before the ribbon cutting for...
Jim Wages, father of cannabis oil patient Sydney Wages, speaks before the ribbon cutting for one of Georgia's first medical marijuana dispensaries(at)
Published: Apr. 28, 2023 at 12:31 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 28, 2023 at 6:16 PM EDT
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MARIETTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - For the Wages family of Paulding County, the green ribbon that he helped cut Friday outside metro Atlanta’s first medical marijuana dispensary represented the finish line of an 8-year-long political and legal battle.

“We’re tired, but it’s all worth it today,” said Wages.

His 19-year-old daughter Sydney relies on cannabis oil to help control her seizures. With the opening of a store in Marietta called Trulieve Medical Marijuana Dispensary, the Wages family can now purchase the potentially life-saving oil in-state without having to break federal law crossing state lines.

“I don’t want to compare this to a monetary value, but we just hit the lottery,” he said.

Wages is one of many advocates who lobbied at the Georgia Capitol for nearly a decade so his daughter and other patients could have legal access to the oil.

Fighting alongside them -- Shannon and Blaine Cloud of Smyrna. Their daughter Alaina also lives with seizures.

“This is just a huge day for patients in Georgia that we finally have access,” said Shannon Cloud. “It’s been over eight years since we’ve been able to possess the oil and had no way to legally purchase it, so we’re just so excited that we can now get safe, lab tested products for patients in Georgia.”

You won’t find “smokable” or “leafy” marijuana at the Georgia dispensaries; but rather, liquid extracts. Marijuana cigarettes are still illegal in the state, even for medical purposes.

Ken Moore of Woodstock was in line hours before the doors opened at Trulieve’s Cobb County location. Until now, he’d been going to great lengths, traveling out of state to get cannabis oil to manage his severe pain.

“You don’t know where it came from,” he said. “Could be fake, could be real, could be anything.”

“A lot of people were buying products off the street or going to other states or having things shipped, and you just don’t know what you’re getting,” said Cloud.

That changed with Trulieve’s simultaneous grand openings Friday at dispensaries in Marietta and Macon.

The stores are not open to the general public. Only patients with a state registry card can enter. They can purchase low-THC oils, capsules, and creams to treat conditions like seizures, Parkinson’s, and terminal cancers.

More dispensaries are currently planned throughout the state, including in Gwinnett and Coweta counties.