When you ask most people 'in the know' right now about the legalization of CBD in Georgia, confusion accurately describes the state of affairs. CBD, or cannabidiol, laws and regulations are moving at a neck breaking pace throughout the country and now in our home state of Georgia. Everyone from farmers looking to grow hemp (which CBD is now legally derived from) to consumers, to business retailers have an interest in knowing where law enforcement and regulators stand on hemp, CBD, and CBD products. While the waters are still murky and laws, guidelines, and regulations are being drafted and redrafted daily, at the moment, here are the basics about hemp and CBD in Georgia right now:
1. What is CBD? CBD, or cannabidiol, is a chemical found in both marijuana plants as well as hemp. CBD is non-psychoactive, meaning it will not impair you, or get you high so to speak. CBD's medical benefits are being studied continuously and purported benefits include helping with everything from anxiety to muscular and joint pains and everything in between.
2. What is hemp? Hemp is a plant, the cannabis sativa L. plant, any all of its parts, with a THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) concentration of 0.3% or less. Hemp is basically non intoxicating cannabis and has many other applications, from textiles to household goods. In fact, it is reported that there are over 50,000 potential uses for hemp.
3. Hemp v. Marijuana: Marijuana is technically cannabis. Hemp is cannabis. So, the difference? It all comes down to THC (by dry weight) concentration. Marijuana has greater than 0.3% THC concentrations (up to 30%), while hemp is defined as having a maximum THC content of 0.3%.
4. Is hemp legal? Yes, under the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018, hemp was removed as a federally classified illegal substance. On a state level, the Georgia Hemp Farming Act was signed into law May 10, 2019, allowing properly licensed farmers to grow and cultivate hemp.
So, what do these new federal and Georgia state-level laws mean for you? Well, it depends on what you are trying to accomplish. Farmers and those looking to cultivate are awaiting final rules and regulations to be passed that guide them on the lawful growth, transportation and distribution of hemp. Processors are awaiting direction as well. Your local CBD stores are wise to keep up-to-date on the latest in compliance and regulations, as there is still a lot of uncertainty around the industry. One thing is for certain: consumers have hemp and hemp products- primarily CBD- in sky-high demand. Georgia is taking small, but forward reaching steps in this industry, because well- as quoted in the Georgia Hemp Farming Act- the goal is to "ultimately move the state and its citizens to the forefront of the industry."
Check out the full Georgia Hemp Farming Act here.
Disclaimer: In this evolving industry, any information or opinions expressed on this page are solely for educational purposes and can not and do not constitute legal advice. Should you desire to engage in an attorney-client relationship, use our contact form to reach out.