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cbd oil georgia legal

Cbd oil georgia legal

CBD Oil and Low THC Oil: Are they legal in Georgia

Many locations are now offering to sell CBD or THC products, but this leaves many individuals questioning what is legal and what is not.

The first step to understanding the legality of these items is understanding how Georgia law defines them.

As of May 10, 2019, hemp and hemp products, as defined by Georgia law, are no longer a violation of Georgia’s Controlled Substances Act. In Georgia law hemp is defined as “the Cannabis sativa L. plant and any part of such plant, including the seeds thereof and all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers, whether growing or not, with the federally defined THC level for hemp or a lower level,” while hemp products are defined as “all products with the federally defined THC level for hemp derived from, or made by, processing hemp plants or plant parts that are prepared in a form available for legal commercial sale, but not including food products infused with THC unless approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration.”

Currently, the federally defined THC level for hemp is a “delta-9-THC concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.” Many of the products that people are referring to as CBD oil fall within this category. These products are legal so long as they are not food infused products, unless they have been approved by the FDA. Production and distribution of these products, outside of commercial sales, is still highly regulated in Georgia and must strictly comply with Georgia’s laws.

The next category that we look at is what Georgia law defines as “Low THC Oil.” Low THC oil is defined in the law as “an oil that contains an amount of cannabidiol and not more than 5 percent by weight of tetrahydrocannabinol, tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, or a combination of tetrahydrocannabinol and tetrahydrocannabinolic acid which does not contain plant material exhibiting the external morphological features of the plant of the genus Cannabis.”

Low THC oil can be possessed by a person who has registered with the Georgia Department of Public Health and is in possession of their registration card, so long as the person possesses less than 20 fluid ounces of low THC oil and it is in a pharmaceutical container labeled by the manufacturer stating the percentage of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

The law defines who qualifies for these types of cards and the process to obtain them, but the easiest course of action to ensure compliance with this law is to go through a licensed physician in Georgia to determine qualification.

When a person violates the provisions of the law regarding low THC oil and possesses less than 20 fluid ounces of low THC oil, then the person is committing a misdemeanor, which carries a maximum penalty of up to 12 months in jail. If a person possesses more than 20 fluid ounces of low THC oil then the person is committing a felony. Additionally, if a person not approved to manufacture, distribute, dispense, sell, or possess with intent to distribute low THC oil does so, regardless of the amount, it is a felony. The range of punishments for felony violations of this law vary depending on the amount of low THC oil, but on the low end it carries one to 10 years in prison.

Possession of THC, other than low THC oil or hemp products as described above, is a felony in Georgia and possession of marijuana is still illegal throughout the state of Georgia. Possession of marijuana less than one ounce is a misdemeanor, while possession of more than one ounce is a felony. Much like low THC oil, when a person manufactures, distributes, dispenses, sells, or possesses with intent to distribute marijuana, regardless of the amount, it is a felony.

Unless an individual is prescribed low THC oil and is complying strictly with those requirements, these laws can create many challenges for the average member of the public. The process in which CBD oils are regulated and tested can vary significantly from state to state, which could mean that what is written on the label is not accurate. If the product contains more THC than listed on the label, possession could be a crime as outlined above.

Other challenges arise from the fact that other states and the federal government may have different laws regarding these items, which could result in federal prosecution or violations of the laws of other states when traveling. Some courts are also reporting that CBD oil may cause individuals to have positive drug screens for THC. If a person is charged with possessing any of these products, having a clear understanding of the differences and how these differences are determined is fundamental to raising appropriate defenses to these charges.

With the rise of companies selling CBD or THC items, many people are questioning what is legal and what is not. Read more about the legality of these items.

Is CBD oil legal in Georgia?

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Contents

  1. What is CBD?
  2. Why is CBD sometimes illegal?
  3. Georgia CBD laws
  4. Where to buy CBD in Georgia
  5. 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.

CBD oil dropper

Laws and regulations regarding CBD are evolving nationwide. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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CBD oil dropper

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.

CBD and weed

Georgians can now legally purchase CBD products containing no more than 0.3% THC by dry weight. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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CBD and weed

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.

CBD oil

Georgia consumers can purchase hemp-derived CBD products from CBD-specific stores and health shops. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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CBD oil

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