Before the 2014 Farm Bill paved the way for the legalization of hemp in countries across the US, hemp was not legal. After the farm bill lifted the ban, some states took their time to jump into the hemp legalization wagon within their borders. One of the countries that did not rush to make hemp legal within its borders was Georgia.
However, on 10 May 2019, Governor Brian Kemp finally signed the bill legalizing hemp production. Despite the approval, the state still witnessed a slow start with few farmers applying for a license.
Today, things are different from what they were a couple of years ago in Georgia, even though the hemp laws are still at their infancy level. Many of the hemp farmers in Georgia do not speak too kindly about the restrictions towards hemp farming. Is hemp legal in Georgia? Read on, to find out.
Legal Hemp in Georgia
Like in many other states across the US, in Georgia, hemp’s use gathers lots of confusion because of its close relation to marijuana. Hemp, unlike marijuana, does not contain any psychoactive properties. However, both hemp and marijuana are from the Cannabis Sativa L family.
Marijuana contains high levels of THC that cause psychoactive effects on its users. According to the 2018 farm bill, hemp can only qualify for legalization if it contains less than 0.3% of THC levels. Before approval for use, hemp has to go through the third party regulated lab tests to prove its authenticity.
The use of marijuana remains illegal in the state of Georgia, and it is paramount to delineate the two for the intention of keeping the laws intact. Even though there is new law enacting medical marijuana, it still confuses even law enforcement officers on what is regulated and controlled.
Where Can You Buy Hemp in Georgia?
The state of Georgia enjoys a variety of hemp-based products that come in several forms. Some of the most popular hemp-based products include edibles, non-edibles, CBD-oil, CBD gummies, and the hemp flower, among others. CBD oil is by far the most popular, and users can get it in many places that include pharmacies, retail shops, filling stations, and specialty shops.
Another place to buy the hemp products that assure you of certainty is from a reputable online seller. Buying your CBD products online provides you with a broader selection of products and strains, alongside a lineup of the best brands to choose from, depending on your preference.
Many of the specialty stores in Georgia sell hemp products sourced from outside its borders, which means you may find the same hemp brands as you shop online. It is advisable to choose hemp retailers and the products on the shelves wisely because many confusion and unanswered questions still surround hemp legalization.
Like many others, the state does not have definite rules on the things you can and cannot do regarding hemp. If you fail to tow the strict guideline regarding the products and retailers, you may end up on the wrong side of the law.
Types of legal Hemp Products in Georgia
Georgia State boasts of many stores offering different types of CBD products. Some of the fastest going products that the stores sell in large qualities include cigarettes, pre-rolls, CBD oils, vape oils, gummies, edibles, tinctures, skincare and beauty products, pet products, household solutions, and cosmetics.
The extensive selection of the products makes it hard for Georgia legislators to choose what is right from what is not for purchase. One of the most interesting facts is that most of the hemp products on sale in Georgia are not from local hemp farmers. The retailers, especially those that run specialty stores, import the products from other rich hemp producing states within the USA.
Is Smoking Hemp Flower In Public Allowed In Georgia?
Presently, Georgia State does not allow public smoking of the hemp flower. The restriction is in force because the state does not have any means of testing the street level difference between marijuana and the hemp flower.
If you smoke in a public place and an enforcement officer catches you, it will be hard for them to tell if what you are smoking has the regulated THC levels. The officer will have no choice but to seize what you are smoking and send it for testing to ascertain marijuana or hemp.
In some instances, the apprehended user may spend some time in custody until the test results are out or go off quickly by paying a small fee. Remember, the test results do not come out immediately, so the best thing is to avoid any public smoking to avoid any humiliation and frustration. If you feel the need to smoke hemp, you could use edibles or vape oil that comes with much less trouble instead.
Does Georgia Allow The Growing Of Hemp At Home?
The State of Georgia does not allow privately owned hemp farms or growing hemp at home for personal use. Instead, the government only allows growing hemp for industrial purposes and to those with valid hemp farming licenses. If the government authorities catch you cultivating hemp at home without appropriate consent or license, you will face charges.
The state has cheap licensing fees at $50 per acre, which is among the lowest in the US, and affordable for anyone that wants to start cultivating hemp. Presently Georgia has slightly above 70 licensed hemp farmers.
The department of agriculture is not receiving any more applications from interested hemp farmers putting the current number of active farmers at a standstill. The holdback is because even though hemp farming is legal, exporting the same to neighboring states is not legal in Georgia. However, Georgia can import hemp flower and hemp-based products from other states.
Another reason for the holdup is that in Georgia, farmers cannot sell their hemp directly to the consumers but have to engage intermediaries to ensure and guarantee a better quality of the CBD products. Georgia also does not have facilities for hemp processing, which means that farmers have no place to take their produce.
Is Hemp Legal In Georgia?
To go back to the earlier question, the answer is yes, hemp is, without a doubt, legal in the state of Georgia. The legality comes with some conditions and safeguards to protect the public meant to protect the public.
However, the same conditions and safeguards also do not go well with anyone looking to make money from hemp farming, considering that it is an agricultural asset like many other crops. The inability to export hemp harvests and the lack of a processing facility or people to collaborate with leaves is one of the leading causes of the laxity in hemp cultivation in the state.
However, Georgia is a rich country, and besides hemp cultivation, the residents can try their hand at other sources of income.
Wrapping It Up
Cultivating hemp for personal use in Georgia may take a while before it progresses a step further from where it is now. The good thing is that it is not only Georgia with the strict hemp farming regulations but other states are going through the same stringent measures too.
The strict medical marijuana regulations make it even harder to believe that a solution may be on the offing soon. Even with the laid-back regulations on hemp farming, at least the locals can enjoy a wide variety of hemp product imports from other states.
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