Traditionally, Georgia has been one of the states that pops 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 actually has some organized legislation regarding cannabis oil, which is legal under certain circumstances for qualifying individuals.
In 2018, 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?
Continue reading to find out.
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 (see below for the full list) to have access to medicinal cannabis oil.
Along with this, it also authorized universities to research CBD oil to see how it would 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 does not mention the phrase “CBD oil” at all. Rather, it refers 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 CBD that is equal to or greater than the THC content.”
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 (rare skin condition)
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Peripheral neuropathy
- Patient is in hospice
- Intractable pain
An interesting caveat to the legislation, however, is that even with a valid ID card you are still technically unable to purchase CBD oil in the state:
“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.”
Naturally, then, the question is this: even with a legal ID card, how do you buy CBD oil in Georgia?
How (and Where) to Buy CBD Oil in Georgia
By our understanding, Georgia’s legislation on low THC cannabis oil is simply in place to protect those individuals who are already self-medicating with CBD oil that was purchased from an online seller.
The kicker, however, is that these sellers are already shipping legally (and have been for years) to all 50 U.S. states – including to Georgia customers who DO NOT have a “low THC oil” registration card.
So, could you hypothetically get arrested for buying/possessing/using CBD oil in Georgia without a valid ID card? Technically speaking, yes.
However, we’ve scoured the net and have yet to come across an instance of a Georgia resident being 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
You might be wondering, then, what the point of applying for one of these legal “low THC oil” cards is, when you could just as easily buy CBD oil online and have it shipped to your home.
Why Register for a “Low THC Oil” Card in Georgia?
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 legal in all 50 states), and CBD oil that comes from actual cannabis/marijuana strains (which is only legal to licensed medical patients).
Remember, with a valid “low THC oil” card, patients in Georgia may legally possess up to 2 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 legal 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.
Even still, where are Georgia CBD patients supposed to buy this “low THC oil” — even if they have a valid ID card? They could hypothetically travel to a state like Colorado (or another recreationally legal state) and purchase a 1:1 CBD-to-THC cannabis oil, but it is highly illegal to do this (i.e. to transport cannabis products across state lines).
And of course, they can’t travel to a neighboring state like Florida and buy from a medical dispensary there, because their Georgia ID card would be 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 the 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 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
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 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 that is legal to ship to all 50 U.S. states. These oils must contain less than 0.3% THC by law, and they typically will contain between 2-3% CBD.
Truth be told, the majority of patients who use CBD oil in Georgia will purchase online, as they do not have to go through the process of meeting with a physician and applying for the registration card. Moreover, as we highlighted above, even with a valid registration card Georgia patients are still limited as to where and how they can get ahold of medical cannabis oil.
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 and incredibly effective products, even if they are less potent than the higher THC oils 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 2018.