Everything you need to know about CBD, Hemp, & Medical Marijuana in Georgia. Is it legal? Will I pass my drug test? Can I go to jail? And… What does the law do?
What is CBD and Is It Legal in Georgia?
CBD is a naturally occurring chemical sold and purchased across the State of Georgia. CBD is an abbreviation for cannabidiol, which is a chemical found in marijuana & hemp plants that does NOT produce the “high” associated with THC (the psychoactive chemical found in marijuana plants). According to the National Cancer Institute CBD may relieve pain, reduce inflammation, and decrease anxiety. For this reason, many companies sale products infused with CBD, such as soaps, lotions, oils, herbs, cigarettes, and more. This blog gives you some basic info about CBD and its legal status in Georgia.
Is CBD the same as Marijuana?
No. CBD and marijuana are NOT the same thing. Although CBD is a component of marijuana, it can also be extracted from hemp, which was recently defined by the federal government as a plant from the cannabis species that contains 0.3% THC or less.
Hemp and Marijuana look and smell alike but contain different levels of THC. While federal regulations require legal hemp plants to contain 0.3% THC or less, marijuana tends to contain much more.
So CBD is legal, but Marijuana is illegal?
Yes. However it’s a bit more complicated. The federal government distinguishes hemp from marijuana, and the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 made all hemp agriculture legal in the United States. As a result, The State of Georgia passed its own Hemp Farming Act in 2019 that regulates hemp.
However, the federal government continues to categorize marijuana as a Schedule I Controlled Substance (drugs considered to have no medical benefit). Despite evidence that this categorization is rooted in political motives & lacking scientific support, our government has refused changing this classification.
What does Georgia say about CBD?
CBD is legal in Georgia if it contains no more than 0.3% THC. Your CBD must have a clear and accurate label, for instance. There are many fake products with inaccurate labels, unverified testing, and unnatural ingredients.
What does Georgia say about Marijuana?
Although still behind the national trend, Georgia has legalized limited medical marijuana. For example, residents are allowed to apply for a Low THC Oil Registry Card from the Georgia Department of Health. With this card, you can carry up to 20 fluid ounces of cannabis oil containing no more than 0.5% THC per weight. The Low THC Oil Registry Card will be distributed to Georgia residents who obtain a doctor’s prescription. You must have a diagnosis such as cancer, ALS, Seizures, Multiple Sclerosis, Crohn’s Disease, Mitochondrial Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, Sickle Cell Disease, Tourette’s Syndrome, Epidermolysis Bullosa, AIDS, or Peripheral Neuropathy, to obtain this card.
Can I break the law by possessing CBD or Marijuana?
Yes. It is illegal to have CBD with more than 0.3% THC, Low-THC Oil with more than 0.5% THC, or more than 20 fluid ounces of Low-THC Oil. Consequently, you could face criminal prosecution in accordance with Georgia’s ban on marijuana.
Possession of an ounce or less of marijuana is considered a misdemeanor. You can face up to 12 months in jail, a $1,000 fine, community service, drug counseling, and monthly supervision.
Possession of more than an ounce of marijuana, or possession of any amount of marijuana less than 10 lbs with the intent to distribute, is considered a felony. You can face up to 10 years in prison, a $100,000 fine, community service, drug evaluations, and monthly supervision.
Trafficking of 10 lbs or more of marijuana is also considered a felony. You can face a minimum sentence of 5 years, 10 years, or 15 years in prison. In addition, you will be facing a minimum fine of $100,000, $250,000, or $1,000,000 (ONE MILLION DOLLARS) depending on the amount of marijuana. The maximum sentence for trafficking marijuana can be up to 30 years in prison.
Will I fail a drug test because of CBD?
Normal to high doses of legal CBD should not result in a failed drug test. Despite this, you need to know as much as you can about the type of CBD you are using to properly determine if you will pass a drug test.
Low THC Oil – FAQ for General Public
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.