CBD In Georgia

2020 Complete Guide

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Is CBD in Georgia Legal? | GA CBD 2020

Is hemp-derived CBD oil legal in Georgia in 2020? What about medical cannabis with CBD? Is it legal to grow hemp and produce your own CBD oil in Georgia? What about selling CBD oil in Georgia? On all these questions, the answer is “yes and no.” Let’s get right into it.

A brief history of Georgia hemp and CBD laws

Georgia is a perfect example of a state that is trying to do the right thing for its citizens, but, being overly cautious, has tripped itself up when it comes to medical cannabis and hemp-derived CBD oil. Along with laying the stepping stones for a medical marijuana program and legalized hemp cultivation, the state has also set in place some stumbling blocks.

For more than eight decades, Georgia has had in place highly conservative cannabis laws. Being caught with the slightest amount of marijuana could land you in jail. Not only that, the farming of hemp, marijuana’s non-buzz-inducing cousin, had also been illegal for decades.

As it became more and more clear that cannabis had the medicinal punch to help people with severe medical conditions, enough lawmakers in the state decided that it was wrong to withhold the drug from its citizens. An effort was made to decriminalize the use of cannabis oils for medical purposes in limited cases. 

In 2015, the state passed a bill that didn’t exactly legalize medical marijuana. Rather it provided patients suffering from a shortlist of medical conditions with a legal defense should they be caught with particular marijuana products. 

To be specific, the law only applied to cannabis oil — no smoking or vaping — and only to oils with under .5 percent THC (the compound that causes intoxication). Under this law, even if you’re a medical marijuana patient, if you were caught with smokable, vapable, or edible cannabis products or cannabis oils with greater than .5 percent THC, you could be prosecuted for possession of marijuana. 

Moreover, under the law, CBD oils, even those containing only traces of THC, was just as illegal as marijuana for everyone but card-carrying medical patients. (Interestingly, that didn’t and still doesn’t stop some Georgia retailers from selling CBD oil and other CBD-infused products.) 

On top of this, the law made no provision for the production or distribution of this low-THC cannabis oil. In order to obtain their medicine, the state’s medical cannabis patients had to buy it on the black market (and hope that it was below .5 percent THC) or purchase it in another state with legal cannabis and bring across the border. Both of those scenarios are illegal. 

So, while trying to decriminalize cannabis oil for its medical patients, what the law essentially achieved was to turn them into criminals.

Georgia hemp bills

A few years later, in early 2019, the state attempted to rectify the situation by passing two bills, HB 213, the Georgia Hemp Farming Act and HB 324, the Hope Act. 

The hemp bill permitted the cultivation of hemp in the state under the stipulation that the plants produced less than 0.3 percent THC (making the plant effectively non-intoxicating). Georgia became the 42nd state to develop a hemp program.

However, the law made no mention of the production of CBD oil. 

The Hope Act laid the foundation for the legal cultivation, production, distribution, and sale of the low-THC cannabis oil needed by medical patients. The measure called for up to six private companies to be licensed by the state. Two indoor cultivation licenses could be issued to companies with up to 100,000 square feet of growing space. And four indoor cultivation licenses could be issued to companies with up to 50,000 square feet of growing space.

Although these laws were steps in the right direction, obstacles remain. 

For one thing, the US Food and Drug Administration had not cleared CBD oil as safe for human consumption. In a public memo, the FDA declared that the use of CBD in foods, beverages, and supplements is illegal. As a result, the state’s Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black issues a warning stating that the use of CBD in foods and drinks was prohibited. Shortly thereafter, coffeehouses, bars, and restaurants across the state that were offering CBD-infused libations began to pull CBD dishes and beverages off their menus.

As of the end of 2019, the state was still working on the rules for dispensaries. Pharmacies might also be licensed to sell cannabis oil. However, few pharmacies are expected to participate because marijuana is still federally illegal and selling cannabis products could jeopardize their legal status to sell other drugs. 

Many experts in the cannabis industry expect Georgia’s limited medical marijuana law and lack of real CBD laws to be problematic. The state’s CBD oil policy on zero THC will inevitably cause problems. In other states such as neighboring Tennessee, CBD laws are more in line with the federal definition which specifies a maximum THC content of 0.3 percent. 

Now that we’ve given you the back story, let’s look at the facts regarding the legality and use of CBD oil and other CBD-infused products in the state of Georgia.

Georgia hemp CBD oil FAQ | 2020

Is CBD oil legal in Georgia?

Again, the answer here is yes and no. Yes, if you’re a medical marijuana patient and your CBD oil contains under .5 percent THC and more CBD than THC. And, yes if you’re not a patient and your CBD oil contains zero THC. Otherwise, no, it’s not legal. 

Medical patients are permitted to possess up to 20 fluid ounces of the low THC cannabis oil. In order to qualify for the medical marijuana program, a patient must be diagnosed with a qualifying medical condition. We list them below.

Can doctors in Georgia prescribe CBD oil?

Because CBD oil is not an FDA approved drug (and probably never will be) doctors are not permitted to prescribe CBD products. The only exception is a drug called Epidiolex. Epidiolex is essentially purified CBD. It has been approved by the FDA for the treatment of certain forms of childhood epilepsy. 

That being said, doctors in Georgia may recommend low-THC CBD oil for qualified patients. As of the end of 2019, the state’s medical cannabis patient roll was approaching 10,000. Once dispensaries are actually open, many more are expected to join.

What medical conditions are being treated with CBD oil in Georgia?

The most common reasons cited by those who use CBD oil are to reduce pain and anxiety and improve sleep. However, there are scores of medical conditions that are being treated with CBD in Georgia.

Medical conditions being treated with CBD in Georgia include:

Can I legally buy CBD oil products online in Georgia?

Again, the answer here is, “yes, but… buyer beware.” You need to make sure that you’re purchasing CBD products that contain zero THC. Furthermore, you should avoid edibles and beverages. Stick with CBD oils, topicals, and other non-edible products and go with a brand that you can trust to promise zero THC. Otherwise, you risk the wrath of the law.

There are actually some benefits to buying CBD oil online in Georgia. For starters, you’ll find a much wider selection of brands and products. Furthermore, the most respected brands will provide evidence in the form of lab reports that confirms that the products are THC-free. Lab reports can also confirm that the products are free from toxic contaminants and contain the amount of CBD listed on the label.

What hemp CBD products are legally available in Georgia?

Under Georgia’s medical marijuana program, the only product that is legal is cannabis oils containing under .5 percent THC and more CBD than THC. No smokables. No edibles. No topicals, inhalers, patches, beverages, etc. 

The state really has no hemp CBD oil laws. It only has policies. The policy states that products containing any amount of THC are considered marijuana and therefore illegal. Also, the use of CBD in foods and beverages is illegal. 

Aside from that, there’s no law to say that Georgia residents cannot purchase and possess smokable CBD-rich hemp flower, CBD vape oil, CBD topicals and cosmetics, and other CBD-infused products. 

But, buyer beware! If you even inadvertently purchase CBD oil with any THC at all, you are technically breaking the state’s marijuana laws. That also goes for selling it. Possession of THC outside of the medical program is punishable by a fine of up to $1,000.00 and a year in jail, not to mention legal fees and potential loss of license if you’re caught while driving.

These are some of the hemp CBD products available in Georgia:

For medical patients, products containing up to 0.5% THC are also available. However, they are restricted to vape oils and inhalers. 

Note that the possession of all smokable forms of cannabis including CBD-rich hemp is forbidden under state law.

Where can I legally buy CBD oil in Georgia?

If you’re a medical cannabis patient in Georgia, and you’re looking for CBD-rich oils that contain any amount of THC, you’re pretty much out of luck — that is until the state sets up its dispensary program. In the meantime, your only option is to purchase the product on the black market or import it from another state. However, transporting these products across state lines is technically illegal.

However, if you’re happy with CBD oils containing no THC at all, you’ll find stores statewide that are offering CBD oil and other CBD products. The vast majority of the stores that sell CBD in Georgia are located in larger cities such as Atlanta, Columbus, Savannah, Sandy Springs, and Roswell.

Can I legally grow hemp in Georgia?

Although Georgia has passed hemp laws, as of the time of writing, the details of the program are still being worked out. State officials have penned proposed rules and submitted them to the US Department of Agriculture for approval. Assuming the plans are approved, Georgia farmers could begin legally growing hemp as early as the spring of 2020. 

Under Georgia’s proposed hemp rules, a hemp growing license will cost $50 per acre annually. Hemp farmers will only be permitted to sell hemp to state-licensed processing companies and cannot sell their products out of state — which is extremely limiting. Furthermore, all hemp crops are subject to inspection. If a crop is deemed to exceed 0.3 percent THC the entire crop must be destroyed.

Can I sell CBD oil legally in Georgia?

Again, the answer is yes, assuming the product being sold contains zero THC. 

However, in a recent limited poll, half of Georgia retailers selling CBD say their products contain a small percentage of THC. That policy is risky and not recommended. Although these products are being sold nationwide and are legal under federal law, they are still technically not legal in Georgia. In most states, law enforcement agencies are not bothering CBD retailers. However, that is not the case in Georgia.

Marietta police recently raided a smoke shop and seized more than 100 pounds of products they claimed were intended to produce “effects similar to heroin.” And a drug task force raided a store in Dade County seizing CBD-infused gummie candy and dog treats.

Also, a number of smoke shops were raided for allegedly selling marijuana products. Officials claim to have collected samples from multiple shops for testing which showed that the products contained THC. 

In some of these instances, CBD retailers have been charged with the sale of marijuana, intent to distribute marijuana, and possession of marijuana, all of which are felonies. 

If you do decide to sell CBD oil and you think you might have unknowingly purchased products containing THC, officials recommend that you contact your local law enforcement agency.

Here are some helpful links to learn more about hemp CBD oil

Learn more about CBD oil laws in Georgia

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