There is just no reason for the veil of secrecy around the Georgia medical cannabis rollout.

What are the courts and the state’s medical cannabis commission trying to hide?

People, and agencies, with nothing to hide simply don’t hide.

The Georgia First Amendment Foundation is fighting for transparency and is asking the courts to allow public access to records related to the state’s medical cannabis commission.

A Superior Court judge and an Administrative Law Judge have ruled that records related to cannabis commission court proceedings can be kept confidential.

But why?

The First Amendment Foundation has rightly argued that the public has a right and need to know and any court documents regarding the actions of the commission should be, must be, subject to the Georgia Open Records Act.

The foundation is elevating its opposition to this veil of secrecy all the way to the Supreme Court of Georgia, fighting for the public’s right to know.

More than 25,000 patients are on the state’s registry to receive medical cannabis and there is strong public interest in access to all records and information regarding litigation around this public health issue.

Secrecy always breeds suspicion and the public will lose all confidence in the cannabis commission and the state’s medical cannabis program unless the veil is lifted.

Last year, the Commission issued two permits authorizing the growing, cultivating and manufacturing of THC oil in an indoor space no more than 100,000 square feet — and four permits for facilities with no more than 50,000 square feet of space. The tentative licenses are on hold after lawsuits were filed by companies that were not awarded licenses.

GFAF is asking the Supreme Court to unseal court records related to those lawsuits. The foundation argues that exempting the records from disclosure sets dangerous precedents by eroding public access.

Just as secrecy breeds suspicion, transparency incubates trust.

If the Supreme Court has any interest in the public’s trust of the cannabis commission and the court itself, it will rule in favor of the public’s right to know and put an end to this veil of secrecy.

Jim Zachary is the editor of The Valdosta Daily Times, CNHI’s director of newsroom training and development and president emeritus of the Georgia First Amendment Foundation.

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