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Today's newsletter is 917 words — a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: Medical cannabis rules on the agenda

Illustration of a marijuana leaf shown in the negative space of many leaves.

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

After years of waiting and litigation, a state commission will vote today on rules and regulations governing Georgia's yet-to-launch medical marijuana program, paving the way for legal dispensaries to open.

What's happening: At 4pm, the Georgia Access to Medical Cannabis Commission will meet to approve rules governing where dispensaries can be located, how low-THC oil will be transported, and other in-the-weeds details.

Why it matters: An estimated 25,000 people are on Georgia's registry and waiting for a legal avenue to buy locally grown low-THC oil to treat cancer, seizures and other diseases and conditions.

Catch up quick: Families and patients who said the drug provided them with relief from pain waged a multi-year lobbying battle at the Georgia General Assembly to create a medical marijuana program, succeeding finally in April 2019.

  • It would be more than three years until the commission could award Trulieve Georgia and Botanical Sciences licenses to produce marijuana for the program and operate up to five dispensaries.
  • In mid-December, the commission presented draft rules governing growing, production and dispensaries selling the product, which can contain no more than 5% THC.

What they're saying: At a commission hearing last week in Gainesville, executives urged the body to approve the rules.

  • "We believe it would be detrimental to patients to further delay the program further with regulatory nitpicking," Lisa Pinkney, president of Trulieve Georgia, which will operate a 100,000-square-foot grow facility in Adel, told the commission.

The other side: Members of Georgians for Responsible Marijuana Policy, an advocacy group critical of the program, urged the commission to increase the buffer between dispensaries and schools, require warning labels, and ensure growers have plans for disposing or recycling excess greenery.

What’s next: If approved, the rules take effect on Feb. 14, Pinkey told Axios in a statement. Then commission officials must inspect and sign off on testing labs and dispensaries.

Watch the meeting online

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2. Vine City Walmart reopening, but Howell Mill to close

walmart

The Walmart on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in Vine City has been closed since mid-December. Photo: Kristal Dixon/Axios.

Walmart will reopen one Atlanta store that's been crucial for providing residents with access to fresh food, but another location will be axed.

Driving the news: Walmart late Monday announced its Vine City store at 835 Martin Luther King Dr. Drive will reopen as one of its Neighborhood Markets.

  • However, Walmart also said it will permanently close the store at 1801 Howell Mill Road in Berkeley Park.

Why it matters: Reopening the Vine City location ensures the neighborhood would not become a food desert.

  • Mayor Andre Dickens said in a statement that food security "is a moral right for our communities."

What they're saying: Walmart spokesperson Charles Crowson said in an emailed statement that both stores suffered from a "variety of economic headwinds" before they closed last month.

Yes, but: Makeda Johnson, a Vine City resident who spoke last week to Axios about the store’s status, said she's grateful that the location will reopen, but said having the full Walmart store was "beneficial to the community" because they could grab socks or a pair of pants along with groceries.

The intrigue: Walmart says it doesn't have the ability to repurpose the Howell Mill store, which is tucked away underneath a parking deck in The District at Howell Mill shopping center adjacent to I-75.

  • Crowson said the company is working with the city to find a new use for the site.

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3. DA asks to keep Trump report secret

Fani Willis argues at a podium in a courtroom

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis in court Tuesday argues to keep the special grand jury report secret. Photo: John Bazemore/AP

In yesterday's hearing, Fulton District Attorney Fani Willis argued that the entire investigative grand jury report into the 2020 election be kept secret — for now.

Driving the news: Willis argued that the report should be kept secret to protect possible defendants' rights to fair trials, noting that "decisions are imminent" regarding possible indictments.

  • Media outlets, however, asked for the report's full release, given the "extraordinary" public interest in its findings.

Why it matters: Willis' comments provide some insight into her thinking as she decides whether to indict former President Donald Trump or his allies after opening an investigation two years ago.

  • "Now is just not the time," said Fulton prosecutor Donald Wakeford. "The time will come."

What's next: Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney told lawyers he will think about the requests and get back to them with a decision. If he does decide to release some or all of it, he said, he will give fair warning in any court order ahead of disclosure.

  • "No one is going to wake up with the court having disclosed the report on the front page of a newspaper," he said.

Read more

4. Music venue battle: Then there were four...

Credit: Axios Visuals
Credit: Axios Visuals

Eddie's Attic is a mellow place but it's got a lot of fight.

  • And let's have a round of applause for Terminal West, which put up a good fight against The Eastern.

State of play: We're down to four contenders for the crown of Atlanta's Best Music Venue.

  • Send your favorites to the final round; they'll thank you for it.

Vote here.

Wake up to a brighter future

Finding, connecting, and building success with our Job Board.

  1. Manager, Client Services at LifeWorks.
  2. Director, Purchased Services at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.
  3. Order Management Specialist at Porsche.

Want more opportunities? Check out our Job Board.

5. Five-ish Points: Mattress troubles

Illustration of a cut open peach with the Axios A logo in center.

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

🌉 Savannah's Talmadge Memorial bridge is getting taller. (Savannah Morning News)

🛏 Doraville-based mattress maker Serta Simmons Bedding has filed for bankruptcy. (Axios)

⚽️ Josef Martínez wasn't just one of Atlanta United's best players. He was also one of the team's biggest fans. (Atlanta)

👀 An early rendering was released of the planned Brookhaven City Hall at Peachtree Road and North Druid Hills roads. (Atlanta Business Chronicle)

💨 Emma is grateful for all the emissions site recommendations! Standouts include: Dad's Emissions on Church Street, Lobga Emission on Memorial and Blue Planet on North Ave.

😌 Kristal is grateful that she's exempt from getting an emissions test this year.

💡 Thomas is wondering if he could start an emissions site in front of his house and make some extra cash. He's an entrepreneur, you see.

This newsletter was edited by Jen Ashley and copy edited by Alex Perry.