Traditionally, Georgia has been one of the states that tends to pop up in conversation when it comes to the worst places to live for marijuana users. While there has been some progress over the past few years, the state is still pretty stringent when it comes to all things cannabis.
However, few people know that Georgia has passed new legislation regarding medical cannabis oil, which is in fact legal under certain circumstances – and for certain qualifying individuals.
In 2019, what can residents of the state expect when it comes to using CBD oil in Georgia? Is it legal? Is it illegal? Can you be arrested for possessing/using it?
In this article, we discuss anything and everything you might want to know about low-THC CBD oil in Georgia – how to possess it legally, how to use it, and what some of your potential options are if you want to buy it as a patient — or if you want to have it shipped to your home without even possessing a medical cannabis license.
CBD Oil in Georgia: A Brief History
Back in 2015, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal passed House Bill 1, otherwise known as 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 have access to medicinal cannabis oil.
Along with this, House Bill 1 also authorized universities to research CBD oil to see how it may fair as a treatment for seizure disorders in children. In true Georgia style, however, these new rules came with particular conditions, the key one being that patients could only access cannabis oil that contained no more than 5% THC.
Also, the legislation interestingly enough did not mention the phrase “CBD oil” at all. Rather, it referred to the legal possession and use of “low-THC” cannabis oil, which as we just mentioned, is defined 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.”
Thus, in order to legally use and possess such an oil in Georgia, you are supposed to have a valid patient identification card showing that you are registered in the state’s “Low THC Oil Registry.” 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
- Patient is in hospice
- Intractable pain
An interesting caveat to the legislation, however, was that even with a valid ID card, you were still unable to buy CBD oil in Georgia, as state law prohibited the production, sale, and shipment of anything cannabis related.
Here is an excerpt from the Georgia Department of Public Health, prior to new updates that were made in April 2019:
“The law does not address how low THC oil is made, purchased or shipped. The law only creates a procedure to ensure qualified persons will be protected from prosecution for having it in their possession … Possession of any form of marijuana by an unauthorized person is and remains a violation of state and federal law.”
In other words, prior to April 2019, while the possession of CBD oil was legal in Georgia with the appropriate medical license, you essentially had no options for actually buying it. Nowadays, however, the question of ‘how do you buy CBD oil in Georgia?’ is a bit easier as new legislation finally allows for the sale and production of medical products in the state.
How (and Where) to Buy CBD Oil in Georgia
By our understanding, Georgia’s early legislation on low-THC cannabis oil was simply in place to protect those individuals who were already self-medicating with CBD oil purchased from an online seller, or otherwise purchased in another state.
In April 2019 however, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed HB 324 into law, which finally legalizes 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 CBD oil in Georgia:
- Patients with a valid doctor’s recommendation (see above) will be able to purchase “low-THC cannabis oil” from licensed Georgia dispensaries
- Dispensaries will likely not open until Summer 2020 at the earliest
- “Traditional” marijuana products (i.e. marijuana flower) will not be available
- Only low-THC oil tinctures will be available, meaning qualified patients will not be able to get high
Of course, with many CBD oil companies selling online and shipping to all 50 U.S. states, you might be wondering what the point of applying for a “low THC oil” card is. In reality, you could just as easily buy CBD oil in Georgia online, and have it shipped directly to your home — without having to go through the process of visiting a doctor and getting a recommendation.
Do You Need to Register for a “Low THC Oil” Card in Order to Buy CBD in Georgia?
As we just mentioned, many online CBD oil sellers have already been shipping (and have been for years) products to all 50 U.S. states – including to Georgia customers who DO NOT have a “low THC oil” registration card.
The companies claim that they are protected under the 2018 Hemp Farming act (a standalone bill that’s part of the much larger U.S. Farm Bill), which indeed legalizes commercial hemp cultivation and sale in the United States.
And what’s more, we’ve scoured the net and have yet to come across an instance of a Georgia resident (or retail company) that has been arrested for the possession of CBD oil without an ID card. In fact, according to at least one Georgia law firm (see below for reference), CBD oil that is derived from hemp is:
- Legal in the state of Georgia
- Legal in all 50 states (as long as it contains little to no THC)
- Available to everyone in Georgia, without a prescription
One thing that is worth mentioning in regard to CBD oil laws in Georgia is that there is a difference between the aforementioned CBD hemp oil (which is offered by many companies in all 50 states), and CBD oil that comes from actual cannabis/marijuana strains (i.e. the ones that will be available for sale in Georgia to licensed medical patients).
With a valid “low THC oil” card, patients in Georgia may legally possess up to 20 oz of cannabis oil that contains up to 5% THC (as long as the CBD content is the same amount or higher).
For reference, most CBD hemp oils that you buy online will contain anywhere between 2-3% CBD, and less than 0.3% THC. In other words, the “medical” CBD oils are much more potent, generally speaking.
Of course, until dispensaries start opening up some time in mid-2020, Georgia CBD patients will still be asking themselves the question of where they’re supposed to get their meds from. Many have had to travel to a state like Colorado (or another recreationally legal state) to purchase a 1:1 CBD-to-THC cannabis oil, but it is illegal to do this (i.e. to transport cannabis products across state lines).
And of course, it’s also not practical to travel to a neighboring state like Florida (where medical cannabis is legal) and buy from a medical dispensary there, because their Georgia ID card is invalid. All in all, it’s wonderful that Georgia is allowing qualified patients to possess medical grade cannabis CBD oil, but they really should make higher THC oils available in state-licensed dispensaries if they want to avoid the urge for people to engage in “unlawful” activity – in other words, if they want to avoid people bringing cannabis oil into the state from other parts of the US.
This is especially true considering that the majority of Georgia residents have already approved of a more “widespread” medical marijuana program; 77% of participants in a recent survey, for example, claimed that they would not be opposed to laws allowing for the licensed production and distribution of medical cannabis.
What Are Some Other Things to Know About CBD Oil in Georgia?
If you do decide to go the route of applying for and obtaining a valid “low THC oil” card in the state of Georgia, here are some important things that you should know in regard to the general process:
- In order to apply, you’ll have to schedule an appointment with your physician. If he/she deems you qualified, they will enter you into the aforementioned ‘Low THC Oil Registry,’ after which you will be able to pick up your ID card from one of 20 Public Health Offices across the state
- The card costs $25, and is valid for two years upon issuance (the entire application process is completed by your physician’s office)
- “Low THC” patients are legally allowed to possess up to 20 oz of “infused cannabis oils” that, as we mentioned, must contain no more than 5% THC
- The oil must be in a “pharmaceutical container” with a manufacturer label indicating both the THC and CBD percentages
- Dispensaries where you can purchase your low-THC cannabis oil will likely start opening in mid-2020
Final Thoughts on CBD Oil in Georgia
To summarize, patients who want to use CBD oil in Georgia basically have two options when it comes to purchasing, possessing, and using cannabidiol products:
- They can either go through the above-outlined process and obtain a “low THC oil” registration card, which allows them to use and possess cannabis oil with up to 5% THC, or…
- They can purchase CBD hemp oil online from one of dozens of companies that ship to all 50 U.S. states. These oils typically contain less than 0.3% THC, and may contain up to 99% pure CBD.
Truth be told, the majority of patients who use CBD oil in Georgia purchase online, as they do not have to go through the process of 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 that you can get from online U.S. sellers are indeed high-quality, effective products – even if they are less potent than the high-THC oils that are available in medical dispensaries.
If you’d like some recommendations on reputable brands to consider purchasing from, we suggest taking a look at this recent article which highlights several of the top U.S. CBD hemp oil sellers in 2019.
- Full-spectrum Hemp extract
- No pesticides, solvents or chemical fertilizers
- 3rd party laboratory tested
- Price Range ($48.00 – $139.00)
- Maximum potency and purity
- Compounded by a licensed pharmacist
- Highly concentrated extraction process
- Price Range ($26-$169)
- Full-Spectrum Extract (Made in USA)
- 100% Natural and Organic
- Contain no artificial flavors or preservatives
- Prices range ($48-$125)
- CBDPure uses a chemical-free CO2 extraction process
- 3rd party laboratory tested
- Certified hemp grown in Colorado
- Price Range ($29.99 – $79.99)
- Over 5 Years Experience
- 3rd party laboratory tested
- Organic hemp CO2 extract tincture
- Price Range ($62.00 – $204.00)