Traditionally, Georgia is regarded as one of the worst places to live for marijuana users. While there has been some progress over the past few years, the state is still relatively stringent regarding cannabis.
However, few people know that Georgia has passed legislation regarding medical cannabis oil. It is legal to use products containing THC under certain circumstances. However, the landscape surrounding marijuana, hemp, and their cannabinoids remains unclear for some. Is this also the case regarding CBD oil in Georgia? Is it legal? Is it illegal? Can you be arrested for possessing/using it?
This article answers the above questions and discusses everything you might want to know about CBD oil in Georgia. This includes information on how to possess it legally, using it, and your options as someone seeking to avail of medical low-THC oil.
CBD Oil in Georgia: A Brief History
In 2015, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal passed House Bill 1, otherwise known as the Haleigh’s Hope Act. This allowed patients suffering from medical conditions such as cancer, epilepsy, and Parkinson’s disease (see below for the full list) to access medicinal cannabis oil. While it is an MMJ program of sorts, it didn’t make provisions for the legal production of THC oil within Georgia or develop regulations relating to its transport or purchase.
House Bill 1 also authorized universities to research CBD oil to investigate if it could be a viable method of helping children with seizure disorders. However, these new rules came with conditions, the key one being that patients could only access cannabis oil that contained no more than 5% THC.
Also, the legislation did not use the term “CBD oil.” Rather, it referred to the legal possession and use of “low-THC” cannabis oil. In Georgia, this is classified as any oil containing “no more than 5% THC, and an amount of cannabidiol (CBD) that is equal to or greater than the THC content.”
Therefore, you need a valid patient identification card showing that you are registered in the state’s Low THC Oil Registry to use and possess such oil in Georgia legally. To qualify, you must meet with a physician and be diagnosed with one of the following medical conditions:
- ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease)
- Multiple sclerosis (MS)
- Crohn’s disease
- Mitochondrial disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Sickle cell disease
- Tourette’s syndrome
- Autism spectrum disorder
- Epidermolysis bullosa (a rare skin condition)
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Peripheral neuropathy
- Patients in hospices
- Intractable pain
Both you and the physician must sign a waiver form. Then they complete the physician certification form and submit the documents to the Georgia Department of Public Health.
Is CBD Oil Legal in Georgia?
Yes, but it is only a recent development. In May 2019, the Georgia Hemp Farming Act (HB 213) was passed into law. It formally legalized the commerce of CBD products that comply with the federal 2018 Farm Bill. HB 213 also legalized the growth, processing, and sale of industrial hemp for commercial and research purposes. The Georgia Department of Agriculture oversees the program and has set rules which we outline a little later.
This came just one month after Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed HB 324 into law. That particular piece of legislation finally legalized the production and sale of cannabis oil in Georgia for those who have a valid doctor’s recommendation. Here is everything you need to know about the new laws on low THC oil in Georgia:
- Patients with a valid doctor’s recommendation (see above) can purchase “low-THC cannabis oil” from licensed Georgia dispensaries
- “Traditional” marijuana products (i.e., marijuana flower) are not available
- The program doesn’t authorize the use of food or beverages infused with low THC oil.
- Only low-THC oil tinctures are available, meaning qualified patients can’t get high
In May 2021, Governor Kemp signed SB 195 into law. It allows the establishment of up to 30 new state-licensed sellers of high CBD/low THC oil to qualified patients.
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Georgia CBD Laws & Marijuana Penalties
Only people aged 18+ can register as low THC oil patients. Minors must have a parent or legal guardian apply on their behalf. Regarding CBD oil from hemp in Georgia, there doesn’t seem to be a set age limit. Nonetheless, you can expect most physical stores to ask for ID as they don’t usually sell to anyone aged 17 or under.
If you’re not eligible for low-THC oil in Georgia as part of the state’s medical marijuana law, you must tread carefully. Being caught in possession of up to an ounce of cannabis is classified as a misdemeanor, leading to potentially one year in prison. The possession of over an ounce is a felony, and a conviction could spell up to 10 years in jail.
MMJ patients who exceed the 20 fluid ounce limit also face legal difficulties. It remains illegal to cultivate cannabis in Georgia. The growth of any amount of marijuana plants is a felony with a mandatory minimum prison term of one year, rising to 10 years.
CBD Possession Limits in Georgia
While low-THC oil patients must adhere to a maximum possession limit of 20 fluid ounces, no such restriction exists regarding hemp-derived CBD oil with no more than 0.3% THC. Therefore, you can purchase as much of this form of CBD oil as you like.
You are advised to be wary when it comes to CBD foods or beverages, though. The FDA has banned the practice of infusing foods or drinks with CBD. Therefore, it is technically illegal to drink CBD coffee in your local café. Georgia follows federal law and doesn’t allow the sale of CBD in food, beverages, drink, dietary supplements, or animal feed.
Even so, most online sellers have few difficulties shipping such items to customers with a Georgia address.
CBD Licensing Requirements
As we mentioned earlier, the Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA) oversees hemp cultivation and production in the state. Prospective hemp farmers must apply to the GDA for a processor permit. This involves paying an initial fee of $25,000 to the GDA. The next step involves getting a Georgia Hemp Process Bond. The bond amount is $100,000, but the premium is a percentage of the bond amount depending on the applicant’s credit score.
Then farmers must apply for a Georgia Hemp Grower License. The fee is $50 per acre cultivated to a maximum of $5,000. Only at this point is it possible to commence growing hemp in the state of Georgia. It became possible to cultivate hemp there in 2020, and the hope is that it could become the next big crop in the Peach State.
Final Thoughts on CBD Oil in Georgia
Patients who want to use CBD oil in Georgia have two options when it comes to purchasing, possessing, and using cannabidiol products:
- They can either go through the process we outlined earlier to obtain a “low THC oil” registration card, which allows them to use and possess cannabis oil with up to 5% THC.
- They can purchase CBD hemp oil online from dozens of companies that ship to virtually every American state. These oils should contain a maximum of 0.3% THC.
Most patients who use CBD oil in Georgia purchase it online. They prefer this easy solution compared to meeting with a physician and applying for the low-THC registration card.
Lastly, it’s worth pointing out that some of these CBD hemp oils you can get from online U.S. sellers are indeed high-quality, effective products. They may not contain as much CBD as some medical-grade options, but some brands now sell oils with up to 166.67mg of cannabidiol per ml of liquid.
Take a look at this recent article highlighting several of the top U.S. CBD hemp oil sellers around to help you search.
How Old Do You Have to be to Buy CBD Oil in Georgia?
There is no clearly defined legal age limit for purchasing hemp-extracted CBD with a maximum THC content of 0.3%. However, most stores won’t sell cannabidiol to anyone under 18. Patients who apply for low THC oil must be 18+ or have a parent or legal guardian apply on their behalf.
Are CBD Gummies Legal in Georgia?
Technically, the answer is ‘no.’ The Georgia Hemp Farming Act does not allow for the addition of CBD to foods, beverages, dietary supplements, or animal feed. You can buy CBD gummies online and have them shipped to your door. However, this is potentially a risk as you are breaking the law in Georgia.
Is CBD Hemp Oil Legal in Georgia?
Yes. House Bill 213, the Georgia Hemp Farming Act, allows the processing, production, and sale of industrial hemp AND hemp products. HB 213 removed hemp containing a maximum of 0.3% from the state’s list of Schedule I drugs.
Can You Buy THC Oil Online Legally in Georgia?
No. MMJ patients who qualify for low-THC oil in Georgia must buy it from one of 20 public health offices located in the state. SB 195 has increased the maximum number of health offices to 50, however.
Are Edibles Legal in Georgia?
No. State law mandates that even CBD edibles extracted from hemp are illegal. The low THC oil relates only to products containing a maximum of 5% THC and at least an equal amount of CBD. Cannabis-infused foods and beverages remain illegal in Georgia regardless of whether you’re on the low THC oil registry.