Is CBD oil legal in Georgia?
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- What is CBD?
- Why is CBD sometimes illegal?
- Georgia CBD laws
- Where to buy CBD in Georgia
- How to read CBD labels and packaging
CBD products are legal in Georgia, with the exception of CBD in foods, beverages, animal feed, or dietary supplements. The Georgia Hemp Farming Act, HB 213, which passed in May 2019, formally legalized the commerce of CBD products that conform with federal law requirements and contain 0.3% THC or less.
Georgia has had a restricted medical marijuana program in place since 2015. Qualifying patients can access CBD-rich cannabis oil that contains 5% THC or less. Adult-use cannabis remains illegal. Several municipalities in Georgia have effectively decriminalized the possession of small quantities of cannabis.
What is CBD?
CBD is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid found in cannabis and the second-most prominent in the plant after THC, which is largely responsible for producing an intoxicating high. CBD can be sourced either from marijuana or hemp plants and has a wide range of potential therapeutic benefits.
To date, researchers have identified a number of potential applications linked to CBD, including anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anti-anxiety, and anti-seizure properties. Further, the chemical has shown promise in treating numerous health conditions, including seizure disorders, mood disorders such as depression, anxiety, and psychosis, chronic pain, and many more.
Most raw cannabis strains on the market today contain small amounts of CBD, especially compared with THC. But since the cannabinoid has gained considerable attention for its wide range of purported therapeutic benefits, more high-CBD strains have recently been cultivated.
Laws and regulations regarding CBD are evolving nationwide. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Why is CBD sometimes illegal?
All types of cannabis, including hemp strains that don’t produce enough THC to cause intoxication, were considered illegal under the Federal Controlled Substances Act of 1970. The law categorized all cannabis as Schedule 1, which defined the plant as a highly addictive substance with a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use.
The 2018 Farm Bill re-classified hemp as an agricultural commodity and made its cultivation federally legal. Further, the act removed some forms of cannabis from Schedule 1 status by creating a legal distinction between hemp and marijuana. Hemp is cannabis with less than 0.3% THC, and marijuana refers to cannabis with more than 0.3% THC. This distinction in federal law effectively legalized CBD that is derived from cannabis with less than 0.3% THC, as long as it has been cultivated according to federal and state regulations.
The 2018 Farm Bill legislation does not mean that CBD derived from hemp is universally legal throughout the United States. According to the Farm Bill, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has the power to regulate CBD product labeling, including therapeutic claims and the use of CBD as a food additive.
The FDA has declared that even hemp-derived CBD may not legally be added to food and beverages, or marketed as a dietary supplement. Although the organization has begun to re-evaluate some of its stances on legal CBD products, the FDA has not revised its regulations. The agency also has been strict in its position against any labeling that could be perceived as a medical claim about CBD.
In addition to the federal regulation of CBD, the Farm Bill also gave states the option to regulate and prohibit the cultivation and commerce of CBD. States may regulate CBD in food, beverages, dietary supplements, and cosmetic products independently, even before the FDA finalizes its policies. Georgia is a state that closely adheres to the FDA stance regarding CBD as an additive in food, animal feed or dietary supplements.
Georgia CBD laws
Until May 2019, only CBD products with zero percent THC were legal in Georgia. The passing of HB 213, also known as the Georgia Hemp Farming Act, permitted the in-state production, processing, and sale of hemp and hemp products, and redefined CBD to match the federal definition.
Georgians can now legally purchase CBD products containing no more than 0.3% THC by dry weight. The Georgia Department of Agriculture, which is responsible for the state’s industrial hemp program, has released a declaration prohibiting the sale of CBD in food, drink, animal feed, or dietary supplements.
Georgians can now legally purchase CBD products containing no more than 0.3% THC by dry weight. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
In April 2015, Gov. Nathan Deal signed HB 1 into law. Also known as Haleigh’s Hope Act, this legislation allowed the use of CBD-rich oil derived from cannabis that contained no more than 5% THC for patients with qualifying medical conditions. While the law created the skeleton of a medical marijuana program for patients, it didn’t address how low THC oil would be produced, nor did it develop regulations around the purchase or transport of such products.
Haleigh’s Hope Act ensured only that qualified patients would be safe from prosecution for possession of low THC oil. On April 17, 2019, Gov. Brian Kemp signed HB 324, Georgia’s Hope Act, a bill that set up a regulatory system for the Georgia Department of Public Health (GDPH) to license and regulate the production and sale of low THC oil for patients. The bill allows for up to six private companies and two universities to grow and manufacture low THC cannabis oil.
Pharmacies will initially sell cannabis oil, and private dispensaries can apply for a license to distribute low THC oil to patients. Dispensaries are expected to open in 2020.
Licensing requirements for CBD
The Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA) is responsible for the oversight of hemp cultivation and production in the state. The GDA is currently in the process of drafting regulations surrounding the licensure and rules of the hemp farming program.
Until the regulations have been released, no licenses will be issued. Only entities with a license from the GDA will be legally permitted to grow and process hemp and hemp-derived CBD. The cultivation of hemp without a license is illegal. Although the GDA is still drafting regulations, HB 213 outlines some preliminary guidelines for those who wish to cultivate hemp.
Applicants must undergo a criminal background check performed by local law enforcement. Those with convictions related to controlled substances are not eligible to apply for licenses. Applicants must be qualified with agricultural experience. Annual licensing fees cost $50 per acre, with a maximum fee of $5,000.00.
Written consent must be provided for the GDA to inspect premises where hemp is grown. Licensees must provide samples of hemp and hemp-derived CBD products through internal personnel or via independent lab testing contractors. Lab tests must prove that the sample contains no more than 0.3% THC. Crops with more than 0.3% THC must be destroyed.
Georgia CBD possession limits
Georgia has no possession limits on hemp-derived CBD products as long as the products contain no more than 0.3% THC by weight.
Georgia law authorizes the legal possession of up to 20 fluid ounces of low THC cannabis oil by qualified patients. The possession of any form of marijuana by an unauthorized person is a violation of state and federal law.
The penalty for possession of an illegal form of CBD product or cannabis scales depends on the amount in possession and whether there is an intention to distribute. Possession of more than 1 ounce is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and $5,000 in fines.
Possession with intent to distribute is punishable by the same penalty tiers as the sale of illicit CBD or cannabis.
Where to buy CBD in Georgia
Georgia consumers can purchase hemp-derived CBD products from CBD-specific stores and health shops. While cafes and grocers may stock foods or beverages infused with CBD, the sale of these are prohibited by Georgia law.
Georgia consumers can purchase hemp-derived CBD products from CBD-specific stores and health shops. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
When purchasing from a storefront, particularly if the store specializes in CBD, you can receive guidance from an employee. Explain what you’re looking for, your reasons for consuming CBD, and they can point you in the right direction.
Georgia residents can also buy hemp-derived CBD online, usually through specific brands’ websites. You can also find verified CBD brands on Weedmaps. Reputable brands will generally provide you with essential product details, including the form of the CBD (such as oil, capsules, topicals, tinctures, etc.), the quantity of CBD the product contains, the other chemicals or ingredients present in the product, and more.
While many online checkout systems support US-based CBD sellers, some companies like Paypal consider CBD a “restricted business” and don’t support online sales. Confirm the websites’ checkout system before purchasing CBD online.
How to read CBD labels and packaging
The 2018 Farm Bill shifted the oversight of hemp and hemp-derived products from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA does not presently allow CBD-infused food, drinks, or dietary supplements to be sold, and hasn’t yet provided regulations for hemp-derived CBD products.
Still, the agency warns that regulations in flux still require companies to make legitimate claims on their labels. Buyers should nonetheless approach CBD products with caution. A CBD product should clearly state what kind of CBD is used.
Full-spectrum CBD oil means the extract contains cannabis-derived terpenes and trace amounts of cannabinoids such as THC. Broad-spectrum also includes other cannabis compounds but has had THC removed during the processing phase. CBD isolate is a pure crystalline powder containing only CBD.
Most reputable CBD producers typically include the following information on their CBD product labels:
- Amount of active CBD per serving.
- Supplement Fact panel, including other ingredients.
- Net weight.
- Manufacturer or distributor name.
- Suggested use.
- Full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, or isolate.
- Batch or date code.
Is CBD oil legal in Georgia? Copy article link to clipboard. Link copied to clipboard. Contents What is CBD? Why is CBD sometimes illegal? Georgia CBD laws Where to
Low THC Oil – FAQ for General Public
What Citizens Need to Know about Georgia’s Medical Marijuana Law
What does the law do?
Georgia’s medical marijuana law allows certain qualified persons to legally possess up to 20 fluid ounces of “low THC oil,” which is derived from the marijuana plant. It authorizes the Georgia Department of Public Health to issue a “Low THC Oil Registry Card” to qualified persons, which will prove that they are authorized to have the oil and protect them from arrest.
How does Georgia’s law compare to laws in other states which have adopted medical marijuana?
Georgia’s law is much more limited than some other states’ medical marijuana laws. For example, it does not legalize the sale or possession of marijuana in leaf form and it does not authorize the production or sale of food products infused with low THC oil or the ingestion of low THC oil through vapor. It does not authorize physicians to prescribe marijuana for medical use. It is intended solely to protect qualified persons from criminal prosecution for possessing low THC oil for medicinal purposes.
Who is eligible for the “Low THC Oil Registry Card”?
There are three categories of persons who may apply for the card:
- an adult who has one or more of the diseases specified in the law;
- legal guardians of an adult who has one or more of the diseases specified in the law;
- parents or legal guardians of a minor child who has one or more of the diseases specified in the law.
What conditions or diseases are covered by the law?
The law lists the following conditions and diseases which qualify for the Low THC Oil Registry:
- Cancer, when such diagnosis is end stage or the treatment produces related wasting illness or recalcitrant nausea and vomiting
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, when such diagnosis is severe or end-stage
- Seizure disorders related to the diagnosis of epilepsy or trauma related head injuries
- Multiple sclerosis, when such diagnosis is severe or end-stage
- Crohn’s disease
- Mitochondrial disease
- Parkinson’s disease, when such diagnosis is severe or end-stage
- Sickle cell disease, when such diagnosis is severe or end-stage
- Tourette’s syndrome, when such syndrome is diagnosed as severe
- Autism spectrum disorder, when (a) patient is 18 years of age or more, or (b) patient is less than 18 years of age and diagnosed with severe autism
- Epidermolysis bullosa
- Alzheimer’s disease, when such disease is severe or end-stage
- AIDS when such syndrome is severe or end-stage
- Peripheral neuropathy, when symptoms are severe or end-stage
- Patient is in hospice program, either as inpatient or outpatient
- Intractable pain
- Post-traumatic stress disorder resulting from direct exposure to or witnessing of a trauma for a patient who is at least 18 years of age
What if more than one person is caring for the child or adult?
If there is more than one parent or legal guardian, then each may apply for a separate card.
How do I apply for the Low THC Registry Card?
The application is actually sent in by the physician who is treating the patient. There are two forms. First, there is a waiver form which must be signed by both the applicant and the physician. Second, there is a physician
certification form. The physician will keep the original waiver and certification form in the patient’s medical records. You may request a copy. The physician will electronically submit the information from these forms to the Georgia Department of Public Health, which will review the information and create a Low THC Oil Registry Card for qualified applicants.
Where will I get my Low THC Registry Card? Will it be mailed to me?
You will be notified when your card has been printed. A representative from DPH’s Office of Vital Records will contact you to establish which of 20 Public Health Offices across the state is most convenient for you to pick up your card. A representative from the Public Health Office selected will notify you when your card is available for pick-up.
How much does the card cost? How do I pay for it?
The fee for a Low THC Registry Card is $25 per new card, which is the standard fee used by the Office of Vital Records. You will be asked to pay for your card when you pick it up from the closest of the 20 Public Health Offices approved to distribute them.
How long is the card valid?
The card will be valid for two years from the date it is issued. The expiration date will be printed on the front of the card. After that time, you will need to again consult with your physician and request that they update and confirm your information into the registry. Please plan to allow 15 business days to process your information, print your card and have it ready for pick-up from the closest of the 20 Public Health Offices approved to distribute them to the address you list as your residence in the registry.
What happens if I lose my card?
If you lose your card, please contact the State Office of Vital Records at 404-679-4702 option 4. If your card has not expired, your physician will be contacted to confirm you are still under their care. Once confirmed, a replacement card will be provided to you. Please plan to allow 15 business days to process your information, print your card and have it ready for pick-up at your closest Public Health Office. Replacement cards will cost $25.
The information on my card is wrong or outdated. How do I correct it?
If the information on your card is wrong or outdated, please contact the State Office of Vital Records at 404-679-4702 option 4. Vital Records will verify the information provided by your physician on your order. If the information on the order is incorrect, you will need to contact your physician and ask that they update the information. At that time a new card will be issued.
Can I alter or laminate my card?
Cards can be laminated; however, a card is void if any changes are made to it.
Where can I buy low THC oil?
Under House Bill 324, the Georgia Access to Medical Cannabis Commission, which is administratively assigned to the Secretary of State’s Office, will oversee the growing, manufacturing, and dispensing of low THC oil in Georgia. The Georgia Department of Public Health does not prescribe or dispense low THC oil.
Is marijuana now legal? Where can I buy it?
No. The law only authorizes the legal possession of up to 20 fluid ounces of low THC oil by qualified persons. It does not make the sale or possession of all types of marijuana legal in Georgia. Possession of any form of marijuana by an unauthorized person is and remains a violation of state and federal law.
Can I now sell medical marijuana?
The Georgia Access to Medical Cannabis Commission will issue a limited number of licenses for the growing, manufacturing, and dispensing of low THC oil in Georgia. It is a violation of state and federal law for unauthorized persons to sell any form of marijuana.
Low THC Oil – FAQ for General Public What Citizens Need to Know about Georgia’s Medical Marijuana Law What does the law do? Georgia’s medical marijuana law allows certain qualified