Medical Cannabis Commission Names First Executive Director

Staff Report From Georgia CEO

Thursday, May 7th, 2020

The Georgia Access to Medical Cannabis Commission voted to appoint Andrew Turnage as its first executive director. Mr. Turnage came highly recommended by The Goodwin Group, an outside search firm that conducted interviews with national medical cannabis experts and recommended the commission “select a prospect who is currently with the State of Georgia who has key legislative and executive relationships who can stand up this organization and has experience with such a process for the State of Georgia.”
“Mr. Turnage not only has the experience The Goodwin Group recommended, but specifically in the area of state licensing, which is essential to getting us up and running and producing low-THC oil,” said Dr. Christopher Edwards, chairman of the GAMCC. Dr. Edwards said upon acceptance of the commission’s offer, Turnage will begin work as soon as practicable. His initial responsibilities will include ensuring the GAMCC is adequately funded and staffed to get low-THC oil to patients in need.
Turnage has a master’s degree from the University of Georgia in adult education, with a specialty in organizational development and leadership. He has a law enforcement background as a former Deputy Sheriff with the Hall County Sheriff’s Office. More recently, Turnage served as executive director for the Georgia State Board of Cosmetology and Barbers and for the Georgia Board of Nursing.
“In Mr. Turnage we have someone who has the background, know-how and capability to build a medical cannabis program in Georgia,” said GAMCC Vice-Chair Danielle Benson, who led the selection committee. “His licensing experience is critically important to the commission’s work, as is his educational background in organizational development and leadership. And his work in law enforcement is a huge plus.”
“We have one goal, and that’s to get oil for families in need,” said Turnage. “Think about families that have struggled to have their basic needs met during this pandemic. We have families in Georgia that have struggled for years to get this basic need, low-THC oil, and our task will be to ensure that they receive it.”