CBD In Georgia

2022 Complete Buyers Guide

2022 is an exciting year for the Georgia CBD market. While anyone in the state of can legally buy hemp-derived CBD oil, purchasing cannabis-derived oils is a bit tougher.

While the U.S. FDA continues to drag its feet on setting up CBD regulations, the CBD market in Georgia continues to mature and evolve. CBD use actually declined slightly in 2020. Experts attributed this to pandemic-related factors such as factory and warehouse shutdowns. However, CBD gained in popularity again last year. Pharma and cosmetics companies also began taking more interest in developing CBD-derived products for both medicinal and supplemental use. 

More and more CBD-infused products are being released each day. CBD can now be found at local stores in a vast array of oils, tinctures, concentrate, capsules, topical solutions, lip balms, lotions, and edibles of all ilk. 

All totaled, consumers spent about $3.5 billion on CBD products in 2021. What about Delta 8 THC? Well, that’s a different story.

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A brief history of Georgia hemp and CBD laws

CBD in 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. 

Cannabis oil only is what the law applied to — 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 | 2022

Is CBD oil legal in Georgia?

The CBD oil 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, medical doctors in Georgia may recommend low-THC CBD oil for qualified patients. Getting certified for medical cannabis in accord with state law can be done online using telemedicine.

What conditions are being Helped with CBD products?

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?

For CBD products that contain zero THC, the answer here is, “yes, but… buyer beware.” Know what you’re purchasing. 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.

Buying CBD online in Georgia has some real benefits. 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.

Is Delta 8 THC legal in Georgia?

A great example of the mind-bending evolution of the CBD market is a relatively new product called delta-8 THC. Prior to 2021, few people had ever heard of delta-8 THC. This is essentially a cannabinoid that is similar to the familiar buzz-inducing delta-9 THC except that it’s produced directly from hemp CBD rather than from marijuana. Delta-8 is less intoxicating and less likely to cause feelings of paranoia than the THC found in marijuana. Nonetheless, it does have some intoxicating properties.

Because it’s a form of tetrahydrocannabinol that has mild psychotropic effects, Delta-8 falls into a gray area of CBD laws. Several U.S. states don’t seem to be too concerned with D8, some have regulated or banned it and lawmakers in some other states are looking into doing the same.

Most of the states allow the sale of D8 outside of marijuana dispensaries including Nevada, Ohio, Florida, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Massachusetts.

What hemp CBD products are available?

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.

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