Patients celebrate as Georgia opens medical marijuana dispensaries after long wait

It was an emotional day for patients and their families who waited eight long years to purchase medical marijuana legally from a dispensary in Georgia.

Jim and Lisa Wages were the first in line when the doors of Trulieve Medical Marijuana Dispensary opened Friday morning. The purchase of a box of medicinal cannabis oil was cause for celebration.

"I don’t want to compare it to monetary value," Wages said, "but we just hit the lottery."

It has been legal for registered patients to possess and use THC oil in Georgia, but there was no place legally to buy it until now.

On Wednesday, the state approved licenses for five dispensaries, marking the end of a long battle for the Wages, their 19-year-old daughter Sydney, and other parents of medically fragile children, who lobbied for nearly a decade to bring medical cannabis to Georgia.

"We never gave up, but we been discouraged a lot of times," said Wages. "A lot of times, we’ve left Sine Die at the Capitol crying. Our group, which is out here today, they’re our brothers and sisters. They are family."

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The first medical cannabis dispensary in Georgia opened in Marietta on April 28, 2023. (FOX 5)

Some of those families were among the crowd at the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Marietta facility, one of two dispensaries run by Trulieve.

They will sell low-dose THC oil to registered patients suffering from severe seizures, Parkinson’s, and terminal cancer.

Since the first Georgia law allowing patients to consume medicinal marijuana passed in the state legislature, there have been lawsuits, political debates, and disputes over who will be allowed to grow and sell it.

State Rep. Devan Seabough attended the opening and said it has a long time coming.

"I’m a paramedic by trade, and I’ve seen how this helps people, especially these kids with seizures," said Seabough.

Those who now have legal access to medical marijuana in Georgia said the facilities are a godsend.