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  • Christopher D.

Marijuana in Georgia: New Rules for Delta-8 and Other Hemp-Infused Products

While recreational marijuana use remains illegal in Georgia, the state has taken steps to regulate the burgeoning market for hemp-derived cannabinoid products such as delta-8 THC. A new law, pending the governor's approval, aims to address the unregulated sale of intoxicating hemp products, particularly to minors. Here’s an updated overview of the evolving regulations surrounding marijuana and hemp in Georgia.

Understanding Georgia’s Low-THC Program

It's crucial to clarify that Georgia currently operates under a low-THC program, which is distinct from broader medical marijuana initiatives seen in other states. Established in 2015, Georgia's law permits certain qualified patients to possess marijuana oil with no more than 5% THC. 

This oil can only be acquired through state-licensed dispensaries, which, due to legal complexities, have not yet opened. This situation leaves many registered patients without legal access to their prescribed low-THC oil within the state. Despite strong public support for a more inclusive medical marijuana program that would offer greater relief to patients suffering from severe medical conditions, 

Georgia has not yet developed such a program. The current law only addresses access to low-THC oil, not higher-THC marijuana, which remains illegal. Advocates continue to push for a comprehensive program that mirrors those in other states where medical marijuana is legal.

The Hemp Loophole

The 2018 Farm Bill’s legalization of hemp cultivation opened doors for companies to market hemp-derived cannabinoids like delta-8 THC, which mimics the psychoactive effects of traditional delta-9 THC found in marijuana. This led to a surge of unregulated delta-8 products in the market. 

Responding to these developments, Georgia’s Court of Appeals confirmed the legality of delta-8 THC in 2022, prompting lawmakers to introduce regulatory measures. The Georgia Hemp Farming Act, or Senate Bill 494, once signed, will impose strict regulations on the production and sale of hemp-derived consumable products, including delta-8 and CBD. 

Notably, the bill will prohibit the sale of these products to anyone under the age of 21, encompassing both intoxicating and non-intoxicating hemp products. This measure aims to protect Georgia’s youth from unregulated substances capable of inducing a marijuana-like high.

Further, the bill tightens regulations on marketing, packaging, and product display, introducing mandatory opaque, child-resistant packaging with clear hemp labeling. It also enforces stricter testing and licensing requirements for hemp growers, processors, and retailers to enhance quality control and ensure compliance with THC limits set by federal law.

Looking Ahead for Marijuana Regulation in Georgia

Senate Bill 494 introduces necessary oversight and quality control for Georgia's hemp industry but does not cover the legalization of higher-THC marijuana for medical or recreational use. The ongoing debate is vigorous, involving advocates, patients, and lawmakers. Efforts to place recreational legalization on the ballot face significant opposition from some legislative groups and the governor.

The legislative landscape in Georgia clearly differentiates between the current low-THC program and the broader medical marijuana initiatives that many seek. At present, Georgia concentrates on regulating the hemp industry rather than expanding access to medical marijuana. These regulatory measures mark progress but fall short of the comprehensive marijuana reforms that many residents and advocates support.

It is crucial for Georgia’s residents and stakeholders to recognize that the state currently supports only a low-THC program. Legislative updates focus on enhancing safety and quality in the hemp market, reflecting a cautious approach to broader cannabis reforms.

Get Ready for Medical Marijuana in Georgia

Medical marijuana is potentially beneficial for those who struggle with substance misuse. Even though this is still being investigated, it might be an affordable, safe option for people to work toward recovery.

Despite some delays, Georgia will soon have access to a comprehensive medical marijuana program soon! To give patients the relief they deserve, we hope Georgia dispensaries should open their doors sometime this year. If you are still determining if you qualify, we can help! Just give us a call.

You can reserve an evaluation online today with one of our compassionate marijuana doctors, and we'll make an appointment as soon as possible. Feel free to ask any questions in the meantime!

You and your new doctor will discuss your conditions and whether you qualify for a Georgia Marijuana Card. And if you make your reservation online today, you'll save $25 off your evaluation!

Feel free to call us at (866) 781-5606, and we can help answer your questions about getting medical marijuana in Georgia.

It is essential to be ready to acquire safe, legal medication when the time comes so you don't have to wait any longer for the relief you need. If you want to stay current on Georgia's medical marijuana laws, sign up for our email and read our weekly blogs.

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